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Saturday, November 28 2015 @ 04:02 AM UTC

Bike Law University: Summary of State Safe Passing Laws

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Here are some concepts in safe passing laws that the Maryland legislature has failed to incorporate.]

This law touches on three important concepts:

  1. Due care – By saying that a driver must exercise due care the law creates a relationship of responsibility for the driver of a vehicle approaching a bicyclist. Language stating a due care requirement may make it easier for bicyclists to hold a driver liable if hit.
  2. Defined distance – By stating that a reasonable and prudent distance is one of at least 3 feet the law makes it easy to publicize what is regarded as a safe distance and reinforces the most commonly required safe passing distance.
  3. Variable distance – By stating that a reasonable and prudent distance is one that varies with increased speed, the law makes it clear that three feet is not an absolute. What is safe can vary depending upon speed and road conditions. Recognizing this is rare amongst state laws that define a safe distance.


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