Urge your PA Senator to pass the “Safe Passing Bill”

 Urge your PA Senator to pass the “Safe Passing Bill”

C in Legislation
D in Policies & Programs
F in Infrastructure
C in Education & Encouragement
F in Evaluation & Planning
F in Enforcement

These are the grades that the League of American Bicyclists gave to Pennsylvania on their state of cycling report card.

A major reason that we scored so poorly is due to the lack of any “safe passing laws” within the PA Motor Vehicle Code. Roughly 8-12% of bicycle crashes are due to motorists misjudging the space required to pass a bicyclist and turning into the path of an approaching bicyclist. To help address this safety concern, 15 states have passed “safe passing bills” to spell out how motorists should drive when approaching a cyclist.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to study up and pass similar legislation.

Your statewide bike advocacy organization, PA Walks and Bikes issued an alert that Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives recently passed a safe passing bill, HB170 sponsored by Representative Ron Miller (R-York).

HB 170 will amend PA’s motor vehicle code to provide the following protections:

  • Every car that passes a bike must give a minimum of 4-feet of clearance
  • It will be against the law for a motor vehicle driver to pass a bicyclist and then turn right (the classic right hook)
  • It will be legal to ride a bike on the public road at less than the minimum speed
  • It will be legal for a driver to pass a bicyclist when it is safe to do so by crossing over a double line

It’s now up to the Pennsylvania Senate to pass HB170 with no amendments.

If you live in Pennsylvania, please contact your state senator and follow up with a phone call to their office.

Take action to help make Pennsylvania’s roads safer for bicycling!

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: www.bike-pgh.org/membership

1 Comment

  • Lyle says:

    While I support HB170, it is disingenuous to claim that there is a “lack of any “safe passing laws” within the PA Motor Vehicle Code.” There IS a safe passing law —


    It would be more accurate to say that there is an utter disregard for enforcement of existing laws. It is already the case that
    – every car must provide safe clearance (which could well be more than 4 feet, or might be less under certain circumstances)
    – it is against the law to pass a cyclist and immediately turn right
    – it is legal to pass a cyclist (or a farm implement, or a buggy) by crossing a yellow line when it is otherwise safe to do so
    – it is legal to operate a bicycle, a farm implement, or a buggy on the roadway at less than the posted maximum.

    It is not legal, nor will it be, to ride a bicycle at speeds below a posted minimum.

    Last spring, I spoke with Joe Stafford of the Bicycle Access Council (who, as I understand it, was the primary author of the new language) and Mr. Miller. They were both of the opinion that HB 170 was not intended to change existing law, it merely clarifies it, in hopes of encouraging more appropriate enforcement.

    We need to put more effort into getting existing laws enforced.

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