New Three Foot Ammendment



New Three Foot Ammendment

Source: Joseph M. McNamara has introduced H5096, which is intended to amend section 31-18-8. Due care by drivers to include:

In addition, the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other human-powered vehicle must pass the bicycle or other human-powered vehicle at a safe distance of not less than three feet (3’) between the vehicle and the human-powered vehicle

Last January Frank’s Law went into affect on June 20th, 2010, without the signature of the governor, after passing both the house (H7243A) and the senate (S2706A).  This is the first we’ve heard of the new amendments to the motor vehicle code put forward by representative McNamara, but we will do our best to reach out and find out what he intends.  If you happen to have information about this proposal, please let us know!


  • Jan 25, 2011 at 10:25 am

    This is important but, Rep. McNamara has obviously never driven nor ridden down Benefit Street in Providence or Thames St. in Newport. This law, without better wording would make Rhode Island's beautiful and historic but older, narrow streets battlegrounds between cyclists and motorists. Let's hope that some language is introduced to help keep all vulnerable roadway users safe while also acknowledging the frequent physical limitations of our older streets.

  • MattyCiii
    Jan 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Reality check on "acknowledging the frequent physical limitations of our older streets." To pass the compulsory RI vehicle inspection, a vehicle needs not one but two functioning brake systems. Problem solved.

    Keeping vulnerable roadway users safe is one part education and many parts enforcement. Case in point: Riding on Elmwood Ave (two full 12' lanes wide, even with snow banks in the ~4' brake down lane) recently, I was passed by RIPTAs finest. You know the drill – I'm sure this has happened to all of us. I was in the right hand lane. Ahead on the left was a waiting bus passenger. What does the driver of a 53' bus do? Coast along behind me at 15MPH for 200', ease to the right and pick up his passenger? NO! He pushed the gas to the floor, got the nose of the bus ahead of me, then jammed his wheel to the right and the brake to the floor. Bus to the left, ice to the right, and pedestrian/bus passenger ahead of me, all I could do was jam on my brakes and pray to Jesus.

    Professional driver. 24' of pavement. And yet the vulnerable roadway user was assaulted with a deadly weapon. Let's hope that all future amendments to motor vehicle laws are tough and enforceable.

  • Critical Mass RI - V
    Jan 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    We need this!!

  • Ibiketowork
    Feb 16, 2011 at 3:24 am

    The 3 foot rule is largely symbolic because it's not very enforceable, but it's still helpful to educate drivers what a safe passing distance is. It may also be helpful for habitual offenders like RIPTA – can't even tell you how many times I've had that same experience. I was literally pinned against a parked car one time when the driver pulled ahead of me and then swerved right, leaving me inches to stop before running into the car's rearview mirror. I called them to complain, and they had absolutely no concern. When RIPTA does kill a cyclist, there are going to be thousands of us testifying about these experiences and the cyclist's family will be very rich. Unfortunately, the cyclist will be DEAD. Hope it's not me. I'm thankful to Rep. McNamara for proposing that the 3 foot rule be made law in Rhode Island…it really is not too much trouble to wait a few minutes to pass a cyclist when there is enough room, even on Benefit St. Getting home to dinner is NOT more important than a person's life, and cyclists are not slowing motorists down any more than they would by driving in front of them in a car. Slow down, wait until it is safe to pass, and allow 3 feet…even you, RIPTA.

  • Dennis
    May 20, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I had an instructive 3 foot experience.

    I was carrying pipe insulation on my backpack Tuesday, riding my bike, of course. These foam tubes happen to be 6 feet long, so they define 3 feet on either side of your bike. They do make a satisfying "thwap" when the 3 foot barrier is broken and draw a bit of attention to the bicyclist. They cost me $0.96 each.

    I recommend the experience for advocates of the Law, detractors, journalists, legislators and law enforcement.

  • Labann
    May 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Must segregate left from right "thwaps", respectively, violators of Frank's Law versus car/curb hugging.

    You know it's supposed to be a DANCE out there? Cars sit parked on average for >16 hours, sleep and work, when streets are pretty empty. Not much sense in everyone wanting to drive at same time, but should do it with courtly grace and style rather than rabid disrespect.