Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Three foot passing law goes into effect today

Beginning today Virginia motorists (or more specifically "Any driver of any vehicle") are required to allow three feet when passing a bicyclist. Virginia code 46.2-839 was modified in the 2014 legislative session. As of today the code text had not yet been modified.

Cyclists on the trail should also take the three foot passing law into consideration when passing others. While experienced riders may be comfortable being passed by less than three feet, a margin of error should be allowed when passing anyone to allow for any erratic or sudden movements.


Thanks, Bruce. You make a great point about bikes passing other bikes on trails!
As I was riding down Beacon Hill Rd being passed on my left at the fast part (always amusing given I'm riding downhill probably 10mph over the speed limit and STILL being passed), the thought occurred to me, where is the 3' from? Eg, is it from the furthest out point so if I had on a wide backpack it starts from there or is it from the furthest out physical portion of the bicycle?
If you are being passed on the left, which is almost always the case, your leftmost point, probably your left arm or left mirror, is where the 3 feet begins. Same is true for the motorist's rightmost part, probably the right mirror.
For the record, it looks like the code has (at last) been updated to reflect the new bill!

Thanks Pat.

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