When a motor vehicle sideswipes or doors a bicyclist, it can lead to devastating injuries for the rider of the bike. According to the NCSL, Florida is one of 32 states that requires at least a three-foot passing distance when you are driving past a bicycle. Lawmakers designed these laws to protect bicyclists and to mitigate wrecks between passenger vehicles and bikes.
To understand how these laws protect bicycles, you have to understand the risk that bicyclists face and how those laws keep them safe.
Bicyclists are at risk
Bicyclists are vulnerable. When motor vehicles share the road with a bike, there is always a high risk of injury if there is an accident. A car may sideswipe a car or a close passing car may force a bicyclist to overcorrect and end in an accident him or herself. To pass a bicycle can put the bicyclist at a serious risk, given the limited protection that bicyclists have on the road.
Passing laws keep bicyclists safe
Bicycles share the road with passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, when on the road, drivers may not see a bicycle or may not recognize how dangerous it is to pass closely. Generally, bicycles must remain on the far lane and when this occurs, they are vulnerable to the cars that pass them. Not to mention, if a bicyclist drives past a parked car, he or she has a chance of suffering a dooring injury. To have passing laws in place not only provides a framework that protects bicyclists but it also raises awareness to bicyclists on the road.