2013 OBF Law Proposal Includes Three Foot Law

The Ohio Bicycle Federation, Ohio’s only statewide bicycle advocacy group, has passed a set of three short, powerful law proposals to present to the Ohio Legislature.  These include:

A.  Three Foot Passing Law – a one sentence add-on to current law.

B.  Modification of the Definition of “Bicycle” – Designed to capture a broader set of pedal cycles, including the 4-wheel “Rhodes Car” that Vinnie Latessa uses to take his 10 year old autistic son for a ride in Lakewood, Ohio.

C.  Revise 4511.132- Malfunctioning Traffic Signal – This will cover situations where bicyclists and motorcyclists are stuck at a Red light because the “vehicle detector” doesn’t detect our vehicles!

MUCH more on this later – but for now, know that we will be pushing hard to get these issues before the legislature, through committee and brought to a vote.  These are, I believe, bi-partisan issues which “should” be no-brainers for both sides of the aisle in a divisive house and senate!

The proposed Three Foot Law will be a one sentence addition to 4511.27, Ohio’s passing law.  Current law mandates that a passing maneuver be accomplished at a “safe distance.”  The new proposal will add a sentence which states: “When a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle, the safe passing distance shall be not less than three feet.

Not only will this law create a zone of safety around a cyclist but it will give police another ticketing option in those situations where a cyclist is “buzzed” at close proximity by an irritated or careless motorist, even if the “buzz” doesn’t result in a crash.

Anyone who rides on the road at all has, undoubtedly, been the victim of a “buzz.”  These motorist attacks are extremely dangerous – the slightest miscalculation by the motorist can lead to a deadly or serious crash.  More frequently, though, they result in either terrifying the cyclist, or causing a sense of rage against the motorist that can escalate into an unfortunate encounter.

I’ve been urging cyclists for many years to get the license number and report these incidents to police.  Demand that a police report be prepared.  Even if nothing further happens, that report is available to the NEXT cyclist this motorist “buzzes” – you KNOW they will do it again, eh?  In today’s riding climate, Helmet Cam’s are all the “rage” – and the next few years should provide us with quite a library of video footage to use to make these arguments effectively…

In the California “Road Rage” case involving Dr. Thompson, police were able to refer to several prior complaints cyclists lodged against Dr. Thompson to show that his actions were NOT “careless” or “negligent” but were the intentional actions of a “road rage”
perpetrator.   Dr. Thompson is currently serving a 5 year sentence, and will likely lose his medical license due to a felony conviction.

So, keep an eye on this page, my Facebook page, and the Ohio Bicycle Federation page for details on how YOU, yes, YOU, can become an active participant in state government and help us get these important points written into Ohio law.

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