Motorists are now required to give bicyclists at least three feet of passing clearance through a new law— House Bill 154, signed by Gov. Kasich in December and effective this week.
In order to improve safety, drivers should watch for bicyclists and know that in Ohio it is now illegal to squeeze past them.
When drivers are unable to move across the center line or merge to another lane to the left, motorists must slow down and wait until it becomes safe to pass.
The new law is said to improve safety since motorists are forewarned not to put themselves and others in danger by attempting to pass a bicyclist if there is oncoming traffic, a blind hill or a blind curve ahead.
The Ohio Bicycle Foundation, chaired by Chuck Smith, created the bill and hailed the new law as “a major step forward to improve the bicycling laws in this state, allowing to thoroughly educate Ohioans regarding a variety of bicycling rules of the road.”
Like cars, bicycles have every right to the lane and have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles.
The federation is inviting drivers to take a pledge by giving three feet when passing a bicyclists using the hashtag #give3feetOH on social media.
The law’s effective date coincides with the first day of spring, usually when more bicyclists hit the road for pleasure, commuting and exercise.
According to Smith, the new law will help to reverse the recent increase of cyclists’ deaths on Ohio roads.
Last year, there were 683 bike crashes listed in the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s data base. In those crashes, there were 12 reported fatal crashes, 88 crashes involving incapacitating injuries and 303 non-capacitating injuries.
Ohio now joins 29 other states with a similiar law.