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Government & Politics

Ohio's Bike Safety Bill Is Headed to the State Senate

photo of bicycle

A bi-partisan bill to improve safety for Ohio bicyclists was passed by the House last week.

What's known as the "3-foot" bill says when a motor vehicle passes a bicycle, "the safe passing distance to the left is 3-feet.” Current law does not specify a distance.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill last month.

Democratic State Rep. Michael Sheehy co-sponsored the bill. He says some of the opposition cited a similar law in Pennsylvania, which says motorists should use the 3-foot barrier “when possible.”

Sheehy – an amateur cyclist himself – says the distance is needed for safety reasons.

“My experience, sometimes -- on an open road, where there’s plenty of room -- a car will purposely pass you as close as he can without hitting you.  And it’s almost like an implied threat.”

Sheehy sponsored the bill with Republican Michael Henne and says he hopes the Senate acts on it when they return in November.

House Bill 154 also changes the rules for vehicles entering an intersection with malfunctioning lights.

“If I go up to a signal and it causes me to stop -- in a school zone, for instance -- and my bicycle and my body [aren’t] heavy enough to trigger the signal to proceed, and there’s no other vehicle -- or nobody else moving in that area -- then I can proceed through that signal and it would not be a violation.”