Frank’s Law – City of Warwick Resolution



Frank’s Law – City of Warwick Resolution

The Warwick City Council met back on October 20th to vote on whether or not to pass a resolution requiring motorists to give cyclists a reasonable amount of room when passing.  The resolution passed unanimously!  I managed to get my hands on a copy of the resolution, the most important portion of which reads:

NOW, TEHREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the City Council of the City of Warwick hereby requests the General Assembly to enact legislation similar to the laws that have been enacted in the States of Florida and New Hampshire to require a three foot passing distance between motor vehicles passing bicycles, and if it is impossible to achieve the three foot passing distance, then the vehicle shall reduce it’s speed to 10-20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and provide for a penality requiring a fine, community service, and license suspension.

The City of Warwick will be forwarding a copy of this resolution to all 39 cities and towns in RI.  I’d encourage everyone to contact your local city/town administrators and encourage them to support Warwick and do what they can to encourage the General Assembly to take this matter up.


  • Ted Lewandowski
    Nov 12, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    A commend the lawmakers but as a professional driver I can tell you that Rhode Island came in very LAST place of ALL 50 States in a GMAC Inusrance knowledge test – that translates to the lawlessness that we have on the streets in Rhode Island and specifically in certain areas of Providence.

    It's nice to read that something is being done – but in reality what motorist or even police officer will do to act on this or enforce it.

    Don't believe, just drive to Kennedy Plaza and see thousands of pedestrians (during the course of the day) jaywalking – in some instances in front of the police – with no consequences.

    Need driver education and enforcement to make a REAL change – otherwise this law will be lost in cyberspace.

  • Monique Rosales
    Nov 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    I guess you could say I'm still fairly new to Rhode Island. I was an avid bicyclist in my home town, Chicago, where these laws have been in place for quite some time. I'm sorry to hear about Frank’s death. It’s horrible that something like this could happen to someone so young or to anyone for that matter. I realize drivers are faced with many distractions in our growing world of technology and cell phone usage — but drinking and driving is like a loaded pistol and Russian roulette. It's disturbing to know that RI does not have stiffer penalties for drinking and driving and that these simple safety laws are not in place. This is simple common sense that could save a lot of persons lives and I hope that the General Assembly of RI will support and pass this law much sooner than later. It's a no brainer!

    Many other states have these laws, but here's an excerpt from our laws back home:

    "The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual."

    "Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, or any person operating a bicycle or other device propelled by human or animal power, upon any roadway, and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precautions upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway."

    There are many other laws in place, but these specific ones can be found at

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  • Arlene B, Boger
    Nov 12, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I proudly wear the shirt for Frank Cabral and display the bumper sticker!!!

    Massachusetts and all states should have Laws and enforce same for all cyclists! They all recommended riding a bike when gas prices soared and even me at age 74 enjoy riding. However, I am very fearful of riding anywhere that I encounter traffic! We have bike paths that measure less than three inches at times and I even lost a mirror from the end of my handlebars!!!!! Little wonder I am scared to death to ride ?????

  • Rides To Work
    Nov 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    This is so amazing…NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I feel ever so much safer on the road…or am beginning to anyway. Thanks so much for continued information.

  • Still questioning
    Nov 14, 2008 at 4:28 am

    I am very glad to see this and I firmly believe that by placing small stones together that we will build a mountain. Although, I am still not faithful that we are protected as bikers. I say this because I had a friend that was hit by a motorist as he was training on one of his long distance rides for an Ironman. The motorist obviously did some damage to the bike, and my friend was pretty scraped up (but nothing broken or serious). When my friend called the police, they came and cited my friend for agressive driving (not the motorist) and told the motorist that he was "within his right"!!! The ironic thing about this was that my friend was stopped at a light in the bike land and he was hit from behind. Bottom line, I am still questioning if when I call the police if they will help me or side with the motorist. I guess the best thing to do is find non-traffic areas to ride, continue to do all the right "rules of the road" for bicyclists, and pray that I don't get smashed by someone not paying attention.

  • Nov 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

    It's unfortunate, but true, that many police officers aren't as knowledgeable about laws pertaining to cyclists as we would like. You will be hard pressed to try and convince an officer on the scene of an altercation that (s)he doesn't fully know the laws and it's probably best not to try to push it at that time. However, this is definitely an area of advocacy that needs some attention. I would strongly encourage anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they were obviously wronged by the law, to fight for their rights. Without people putting actually challenging the system, the imperfections will never be correct.

    Even though it's unlikely this law will be strictly enforced, I think it could significantly improve the ability of the DA to press charges in the case of serious accident. If the law becomes reality, it would give the DA something to charge a motorist with, should the seriously injure or kill another cyclists.

  • Cameron
    Nov 14, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I was actually unaware that J-walking was illegal, however I am happy to see this 3-foot law being passed. I hope all cities in the state follow suit. To address the lack of responsibility amongst drivers and officers alike, I submit that a guerrilla ad campaign be put into action to raise awareness of the new law.

  • Nov 14, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    I was actually unaware that J-walking was illegal.

    I don't think it is illegal. The Rhode Island Ped Laws state:

    § 31-18-5 Crossing other than at crosswalks

    Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway

    As I read this, pedestrians can cross wherever they want. It merely boils down to whether or not they have the right of way.

    There is another issue here at work that everyone seems to continuously skirt around. In my mind, there is a huge difference between a motorist not paying attention or breaking the law and either a cyclist or a pedestrian doing the same. In either case, the cyclist or pedestrian is the one most likely to loose! If a motorist runs a stop light or sign and there happens to be a cyclist going through at the same time, the cyclist looses. If a cyclist runs a stop light or sign and there happens to be a car going through the intersection, the cyclist looses. I'm not advocating that cyclists intentionally break the law here, but I think there does need to be some attention paid to the cost associated with the misdeeds.

  • Ted Lewandowski
    Dec 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Mark Dieterich cites RI Law which states…

    § 31-18-5 Crossing other than at crosswalks

    Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway

    That translates that if you jaywalk (walking outside of marked crosswalk) you have to yield to all vehicles in the roadway – which in reality works out exactly the opposite of its intent – motorists brake so they don't hit a pedestrian in the roadway – even if that pedestrian walks out onto the roadway without looking or in most cases thinking he/she have all the rights in the world as soon as they walk off the curb.

    The above law is pretty clear – but what happens in the real world is totally different – actually exactly opposite – and the responsibility to change and enforce this falls on the Providence Police.