Three Foot Rule



If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you’ve read about the work Lori DiBiasio has done in promoting Frank’s Law.  We just received word that the RI General Assembly now has official designated this H5074 for consideration.  In particular, it would require:

31-15-18. Keeping a three foot passing distance when passing a bicycle. — (a) A
person operating a motor vehicle, when approaching a bicyclist, shall insure the safety and
protection of the bicyclist by leaving a reasonable and prudent distance between the vehicle and the bicycle. A three foot (3′) passing distance between the motor vehicle and passing bicycle shall be deemed to be reasonable and prudent. When impossible to achieve the three foot (3′) passing distance, then the vehicle shall reduce its speed to ten (10) to twenty (20) miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

A failure to keep a three foot (3′) passing distance when passing a bicycle would carry an $85 fine.  While the fine is likely to be a marginal deterrent, hopefully, having a law on the books like this would allow for the RI Attorney General to prosecute cases where cyclists are struck by automobiles.

Now would be a good time to contact your reprentatives and suggest they support this bill.


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  • Jan 21, 2009 at 5:26 am

    You can follow the status of this bill online. You'll need to enter 5074 in the bills field. Currently, the bill has been referred to the House Judiciary and has no hearing date scheduled.

  • Jan 22, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Deval Patrick just signed a safe passing bill into Massachusetts law, as part of a larger bicyclist safety bill… I hope we can do the same this session. The Massachusetts law would be a good place for us to start.

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  • Mar 10, 2009 at 3:12 am

    With the absence of Guidelines and Regulations is very little what can be done to avoid from getting hit by a car…

    Please, approve Frank's Law

    Plenty of cyclists are killed by cars even though they were wearing helmets.

    Ironically, if they had ridden without helmets, they might still be alive today.

    Don't fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety. In truth, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


    Please, approve Frank's Law inmediatly !!!

    Thank you in advance…

  • Mar 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I oppose this new 3-foot legislation. It's not only unenforceable, it will enrage motorists further and might even be used to restrict bicyclists from free use of the entire road to which they are entitled under law.

    I propose you back legislation to remove cell phones from motorists as they drive. You can't hold a heated argument with a demented talk show host while driving safely.

    Helmets don't save you? 95% of bicycling fatalities were riders who didn't wear helmets. Many accidents are made less severe because of them. More likely is that bad road infrastructure will force high risk situations, like where shoulder disappear.