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Updated Bike Law Maps, Resources

It’s been a little less than a year since Bike Law University was launched last January. In that time the series has covered 10 categories of law that may affect cyclists and motorists as they share the road. 

To cap off the year we are updating the sections on Safe Passing laws, Share the Road license plates, Bicycling Under the Influence, Mandatory Helmet laws, and Where to Ride laws. For each section I used the excellent Open States tool provided by the Sunlight Foundation to check for any changes since the category was published. Each category has been updated in our State Bike Law resources and maps that make it easy to see the legal landscape for those categories are now available.

There were only a few, but very notable changes:

  • California passed the Three Feet for Safety Act becoming the 22nd to pass bicyclists at a distance of no less than three feet and making this the 8th where at least one state has adopted a three foot passing law. Combined with North Carolina and Virginia, which only require motorists to pass at a distance of no less than two feet, half of all states have adopted a law that defines a safe passing distance between a motorist and a bicyclist.
  • Utah passed a law that defines and protects vulnerable road users, making it the 6th adopt such a definition and protection approach for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other person who happen to be outside of motor vehicles. In addition, 9 states saw some type of vulnerable road user law introduced into their state legislature.
  • Maine passed a law that amended its where to ride law, empowering people riding bikes to choose to ride where they feel safe within the roadway.

I also noticed several states, including Illinois, Utah and Maine, that passed laws affirming bicyclists’ ability to pass on the right of traffic. Although this is not a subject covered by Bike Law University at this time it is a great improvement. Congratulations to all of the advocates and cyclists who can enjoy better laws in the New Year!

If I missed any legal changes in your state in the past year please let me know. If you are interested in learning more about Sunlight Foundation legislative resources, please check out our recent webinar co-hosted by Advocacy Advance and the Sunlight Foundation.

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