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Putting the PA in safe passing

…Or rather putting the safe passing in PA. That is what Pennsylvania Walks and Bikes and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia are trying to do.

Photo by Bruce Dean

In general, safe passing laws raise awareness among drivers that they need to 1. expect bicyclists on the road, 2. respect bicyclists’ space on the road, and 3. provide cyclists plenty of space when passing. In the event of a crash, the law gives law enforcement a clear charge: if there was contact, the driver did not provide sufficient lateral distance.

The Pennsylvania House has passed HB 170, the safe bicycle passing bill. According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the law would protect cyclists in the following ways:

  • Every car that passes a bike must give a minimum of 4-feet of clearance
  • It will be against the law for a motor vehicle driver to pass a bicyclist and then veer sharply in front of forcing you to jam on your brakes to avoid injury
  • It will be legal to ride a bike on the public road at less than the minimum speed
  • It will be legal for a driver to pass a bicyclist when it is safe to do so by crossing over a double line
Residents of Pennsylvania should urge their state Senator to vote for the law without amendment.


See a map highlighting the states with safe passing laws.
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