Fla. Law Requires Motorists Give Cyclists Safe Space

October 2, 2006

Bicyclists should be a bit safer riding along Florida’s roadways starting Sunday, when a new law goes into effect that requires motorists to give them at least a 3-foot gap when passing.

Under the new measure, motorists who get too close could be charged with a moving violation subject to a fine and points assessed against their driver’s license.

The previous law only used the words “pass safely,” said Dennis Scott, of the Florida Department of Transportation.

At least five other states have a 3-foot clearance law, but Scott said that distance is “a minimum,” noting that trucks going 55 mph and passing a bike within 3 feet could knock them over with the wind blast.

“Many people don’t feel like we belong on the road at all,” said cyclist Celia Conti of Plantation. “But now they’ll need to know that not only do we belong, but they need to wait if there isn’t room to pass.”

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