[Updating this is cumbersome and I am probably missing some… This page at ncsl.org says it’s updated to the end of 2015]
As of the 2015 legislative season, by my count, 22 US states have added three-or-more-foot passing provisions (not counting NY, Missouri or SC, which both relatively recently added “safe passing” laws without specifying a distance):
|2018||Michigan||news item. amends section 257.636|
|2015||South Dakota||HB 1030 minimum 3/6 foot.|
|2012||Pennsylvania||HB 170 3303(3) FOUR foot passing|
|2011||Kansas||HB2192 K.S.A. 8-1516|
|2011||Nevada||SB248 NRS 484B.270; 3-feet AND must change lanes on multi-lane|
|2010||New York*||A10697 S 1122-A (right section, wrong bill?)|
|2010||Maryland||SB51. code 21-1209. has bad features|
|2008||South Carolina *|
|2000||Arizona||HB2625 44th/1st Regular. ARS 28-735|
*NY, SC and MO: requires “safe operating” — not specific distance. I also need to look up NC; i seem to remember they have a 2-foot specification for passing.
For background, history and commentary on Three-foot “safe passing laws” see original page on azbikelaw.org
Since completing the roundup last year, I mainly hear of these through word-of-mouth, so please contact me if you have any more info.
- IL, Illinois passed SB0080 Aug 16, 2007, which became Public Act 095-0231.
- AR, Arkansas Act 681, passed Mar 29, 2007.
- ME, Maine LD 1808, becomes Public Law Chapter 400, passed Jun 22, 2007
- TN, Tennesee passes HB0235 — the “Jeff Roth Bicycle and Pedalcyclists Protection Act of 2007”, May 3, 2007. It is filed as Chapter 81 of 105th Legislture
- WA, Washington. The CBCEF has a campaign at give3feet.org, which is sponsored by it includes some nifty graphics of three feet.
- OR, Oregon had a bill that died, SB0299 (search for 299 in current/2007 measures), and passed as SB0108. Addresses passing , but not specific distance. I.e. no 3 feet.
- CA, California AB 60 (search for 60 in assembly bills 2007/2008), withdrawn Apr 16, 2007.
- CT, Public Act 08-01 enacted a new law in Connecticut, effective October 1, 2008, which requires motorists to allow at least three feet of separation
- NH, HB-1203. Requires not only 3 feet, but also “one additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour above 30 miles per hour”. It has a few other provisions. An extra reflective strip must now be worn in the dark — good idea but seems to me to be an unnecessary legal burden on an otherwise well-lit cyclist.
- FL, Florida State Statute 316.083, 316.085
- SC, HB3006 passed in 2008, 5 foot distance was dropped from the bill but requires a “safe operating distance”, Section 56-5-3435. The law includes criminal penalties if the infraction results in serious injury or death, Section 56-5-3500. It even makes harassment a crime. There are other good new provisions, in addition to deleting the mandatory sidepath rule, new language in their ride-right rule makes clear “A bicyclist may, but is not required to, ride on the shoulder of the road”, Section 56-5-3430.
- CO, Senate Bill 148 governor signed May 12, 2009. also includes something about 2 abreast, and other things. Details at Bicycle Colorado.
- LA (Louisiana), general info: louisiana3feet.com (2009)
- MS (Mississippi), “The John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act”, SB3014, becomes law July 1, 2010. Some other stuff in there, not all good “Mississippi also joins the 41 states with discriminatory ‘Far to the Right’ laws on the books”, according to Richard Masoner. General info page: mississippi3feet.org …
- MD (Maryland), SB51 in 2010. Modifies transportation section 21-1209 (MD code currently here). Some intricate/odd features, such as if the road is not wide enough to allow 3 feet, drivers don’t have to… strange.
- GA. HB101. From 3footrule.com: “May 11th – HB 101 Signed into Law – 3 Foot Safe Passing Rule was approved! Gov Deal signed HB 101 into law. April 14th, 2011 – HB 101 was approved by the House 150-9 with a 3 Foot Safe Passing amendment from the Senate. (Effective July 1, 2011)” Though if you read the bill/law it sounds weak motorist must allow at least three feet “when feasible”, so if it’s not feasible, anything goes. hmmm …
- CA SB910 gets vetoed Oct 2011 (with a really stupid explanation by governor) — but in any event, I found 3 other states that i HAD MISSED entirely, so added them to the list: KS, NV, NY (all either in 2011 or 2010). this makes 20 by my count.
- PA: HB 170 signed by governor Feb 2, 2012 — 4-foot passing distance. see e.g. bike-pgh.org. It has some other goodies too, but I’m afraid bicyle advocates got more than they bargained for, and not in a good way: the law also contains this abusable new section 3364(2): “A pedalcycle may be operated at a safe and reasonable speed appropriate for the pedalcycle. A pedalcycle operator shall use reasonable efforts so as not to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” (only applies to two-lane roads, though, so I guess that’s not terribly bad).
- TX: although a bill was vetoed by Gov Perry in 2009, with Houston’s passing an ordinance in 2013, many of Texas’ cities, and all large Texas cities, now have some form of safe passing law; For more on the Houston action see here and here.
- CA: after several tries, including at least one veto, a 3-foot passing law made it in 2013: AB1371
- SD HB 1030 provides for minimum 3 feet if speed limit is 35mph or less, and 6 feet if limit is higher; allows overtaking vehicles to cross center line if safe. Also adds/changes provisions for bicyclists’ requirement to signal, can be intermittent if the hand is necessary to control bicycle.
- NV / Nevada / 2011. SB248 (passing law) and , found this at NV’s DMV: “Motorists passing a bicycle must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least three feet of space between the vehicle and the bicycle. (NRS 484B.270) Motorists may be charged with reckless driving if they are at-fault in any collision with a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Penalties include a driver license suspension. (NRS 484B.280)” (i can’t find the legislation for the VUL; not sure about the year). (in retrospect, i don’t see where that latter section, 483B.280 includes bicyclists, it only says pedestrians).
- MI / Michigan news item. (Public Act) PA 279 Sept. 2018. Has weasel words in the three foot language. Amends section 257.636
Also adds language to allow vehicle drivers to pass bicyclists in a no-passing zone “if it is safe to do so”. Another law passed this session mandates driver training classes teach various safe bicycling practices.
- DE / Delaware: See comment below, DE already had language as of 2012 but don’t know from when(?) “a minimum of 3 feet of clearance while passing such bicyclist”. DE further modified those same sections in 2018 with perhaps stronger language.
A perennial problem with any such law is lack of enforcement (or perhaps enforceability, depending on who you ask), e.g. In the city of Tucson over an 18-month period there were a total of 3 citations according to tucsonbikelawyer.com; zero-citations-so-far-for-three-foot-passing-rule-in-tucson-this-year.
Here’s another roundup, current as of later part of 2008
Another one that is less recent according to the date, but is notable because it includes passing laws for all fifty states.
The ncsl.org has a nationwide chart/map as of Aug 2014.