The 3-Foot Passing Law – Motorists are now required to give cyclists 3 feet of clearance when passing. The 3-foot law has an exemption for roads that are too narrow to allow 3 feet of clearance safely. In this case, drivers are allowed to pass cyclists with less than 3 feet.
I will assert there are more people that are male and weigh more then 220 lbs (were I got the 4 drinks from see BAC Information below) then there are highways that are not wide enough to lawfully pass the bicycle at a distance of at least 3 feet.
I will also note this law is still in effect no mater how you look at our 3' law.
§21–303.(b) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle that is going in the same direction shall pass to the left of the overtaken vehicle at a safe distance.
And there is this in the SAME statute as well:
§ 21-1209. (a) Drivers to exercise due care.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the driver of a vehicle shall:
.(1) Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being ridden by a person;
I really have to ask does MDOT summary even come close to expressing due care in avoiding colliding with any bicycle is a legal requirement no mater the width of the road? I will also note that a two lane highway does not fall under this exception, we are taking about a narrower highway with less then two lanes.
Jim Titus had a great response:
My main concern is that the statement quoted is incorrect in at least three ways.
a. First, the exception applies for "highways" that are too narrow, not "roads" that are too narrow. Legally, these two words are not synonyms.
b. Second, the law does not say that one can pass with less than three feet, only that the specific statutory requirement does not apply. It is an open question what the required passing clearance is on a narrow highway, just as it is an open question as to what even if a narrow highway. Bottom line: No authoritative legal opinion exists that identifies any specific road where a driver is allowed to pass with less than three feet--so why invite general readers to speculate?
c. The statute has some exceptions, not exemptions. Exemptions are part of the tax law.
(i) Highway. – “Highway” includes:
(1) Rights-of-way, roadway surfaces, roadway subgrades, shoulders, median dividers, drainage facilities and structures, related stormwater management facilities, and structures, roadway cuts, roadway fills, guardrails, bridges, highway grade separation structures, railroad grade separations, tunnels, overpasses, underpasses, interchanges, entrance plazas, approaches, and other structures forming an integral part of a street, road, or highway, including bicycle and walking paths; and
(2) Any other property acquired for the construction, operation or use of the highway.
§ 21-1209. Throwing object at bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD.
(a) Drivers to exercise due care.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the driver of a vehicle shall:
.(1) Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being ridden by a person; and
.(2) When overtaking a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter, pass safely at a distance of not less than 3 feet, unless, at the time:
..(i) The bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter rider fails to operate the vehicle in conformance with § 21-1205(a) of this subtitle ("Riding to right side of roadway") or § 21-1205.1(b) of this subtitle ("Roadway with bike lane or shoulder paved to smooth surface");
..(ii) A passing clearance of less than 3 feet is caused solely by the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter rider failing to maintain a steady course; or
..(iii) The highway on which the vehicle is being driven is not wide enough to lawfully pass the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter at a distance of at least 3 feet.
(b) Throwing objects.- A person may not throw any object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
(c) Opening doors with intent to strike, injure, etc.- A person may not open the door of any motor vehicle with intent to strike, injure, or interfere with any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
(d) Yielding right-of-way.- Unless otherwise specified in this title, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a person who is lawfully riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter in a designated bike lane or shoulder if the driver of the vehicle is about to enter or cross the designated bike lane or shoulder.