The 3 Foot Passing Bill, SB248, was passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor and will become the law in Nevada on October 1, 2011. It’s pretty simple really. Motorists must pass a bicyclist no closer than 3 feet.
Here’s the language in the bill:
Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Existing law prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from overtaking and passing a bicycle or an electric bicycle unless the driver can do so safely without endangering the person riding the bicycle or electric bicycle. (NRS 484B.270) This bill requires a driver of a motor vehicle to overtake and pass a bicycle or an electric bicycle proceeding in the same direction by: (1) moving the vehicle into the immediate left lane, if there is more than one lane traveling in the same direction and it is safe to move into the lane; or (2) passing to the left of the bicycle or electric bicycle at a distance of not less than 3 feet from the bicycle or electric bicycle.
Critics say that it’s nearly impossible for traffic police to enforce this law. For me, feeling how close the FedEx trucks come when passing me, requiring a motorist to not pass “unless he can do so safely (current law)” must be not nearly specific enough. So it’s about education, not enforcement. So how will motorists get educated about this new law?
You can help promote awareness of the new law by wearing a “3 Feet Please” t-shirt or bicycle jersey. They’re available at www.3feetplease.com, $15 for the t-shirt, $60 for the jersey, short or long sleeve. The jerseys run just a little bit small, so if you wear a loose fitting medium, this one will be fitted. If you put “GoNV” in the discount code box, $5.00 of your purchase will go to the Nevada Bicycle Coalition to help promote safe bicycling in Nevada and more bicycle friendly legislation in the future.
Here’s a link to the new law – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/76th2011/Bills/SB/SB248_EN.pdf
VERY pleased our state, did not stay in the “dark ages” on this issue! I have been interested in this issue since Mr. Bob Mionske
spoke of it last year at the Tour De Nez.
I am ordering my jersey now! Hopefully California and Arizona will follow us for a change!
Thank you to all of those involved!
Why is it the drivers responsibility? How about a law that tells the damn bikers to stay within 6 inches of the curb and not in the middle of the lane with the cars!!!
I couldn’t agree more. I was just discussing the lack of enforcement for laws against cyclists who don’t use the proper lanes, go against the traffic, do not stop for lights and stop signs.
It’s the driver’s responsibility because he’s in control (hopefully) of a 3,000+ lb. weapon and it takes virtually no effort for him to brake and/or change lanes to avoid crushing a bicyclist.
For a bicyclist, 6 inches from the curb is a pretty dangerous place to be. The road is typically broken up there so it makes a bicyclist weave and bounce around, scaring the motorist as well as the bicyclist. Riding that close to the curb also encourages motorists to pass when there isn’t really enough room to pass safely. Better is 2 to 3 feet from the curb where a bicyclist can ride a straight and steady line.
Bicyclists are allowed the use of the whole lane when they are traveling at the same speed as the surrounding traffic, otherwise they should avoid impeding traffic except when to do so would be more dangerous.
Well said sir. Education is the key.
Actually, the law states that cyclists are only required to state as close to the right as “practicable”. NRS 484.509 Operating bicycle on roadway.
1. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall, except:
(a) When traveling at a lawful rate of speed commensurate with the speed of any nearby traffic;
(b) When preparing to turn left; or
(c) When doing so would not be safe,
ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
Most motorists do not see all the obstacles in the road that cyclists do – glass, tire fragments, rocks/sand, cracks and potholes, etc. They also don’t recognize that it is dangerous for cyclists to pass parked cars. More than one cyclists has been injured or killed by a driver opening a door in front of a cyclist passing. As a cyclist AND a motorist, I try to be respectful and safe no matter what I am driving.
Will there be some kind of activity (booth, etc…) at this years Tour De Nez?
No plans to at this time.
This law sounds awful. It is difficult to enforce and in some instances could be dangerous. What about areas where the bicyclists are riding up a two lane road where there is no bike lane going a lot slower than the other traffic. Is a car supposed to cross the yellow line just to pass? The bicyclist shouldn’t be there in the first place. The law should not punish drivers in all cases as it is not always their fault. The whole situation should be solved with education and more bike lanes not with punishment.
That’s right, ncwv, you wait until there’s an appropriate break and you may come close or even cross that center line.
When I drive my car (pretty infrequently at this point in my life)it’s how I approach the cyclist. Until we have bike lanes on all the major roads (eg: Plumas St….) it is just a fact of driving in Reno. I would hope the safety of a fellow community member would be a higher priority than wherever someone happens to be traveling to in their car. Before I rode my bike everywhere I found myself disgruntled at bikers. You should hop on and see it from our perspective for a week.
“Bicyclists shouldn’t be there in the first place.” ?
Cyclists are allowed to ride wherever cars can drive (minus specific highway sections). Vehicles need to be aware, and perhaps even try to have some respect for someone who chooses to use alternative modes of transportation to the gas-guzzling norm.
On a side note, I do wish police would crack down on people who ride facing traffic. It is dangerous to me and them, both as a driver AND as a cyclist.
This is not always possible. Ever see bicyclists on Pyramid Highway, north of Pebble Creek? There is no official “bike lane” – only a 1-foot wide wide swath of asphalt. No way I’d ride a bike on that road, yet many do. I think it suicidal, frankly.
Why all the legality? What about common sense and respect.. Why can’t a 4,000 pound car or truck give at least some common sense consideration to an 16 pound bike?
Why, indeed? The problem is that common sense and respect are not common enough and motorists were free to determine what a safe distance is. Many times that was much, much less than 3 feet. The previous law required motorists to pass at a safe distance. This law answers the question, “Can you be more specific?”