tampabay.com

Law aims to protect cyclists

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 1, 2006


TALLAHASSEE - Bicyclists should be a bit safer riding along the state's roadways starting today, when a law goes into effect that requires motorists to give them at least a 3-foot gap when passing.

Under the new measure, motorists who get too close could be charged with a moving violation subject to a fine and points assessed against their driver's licenses.

The previous law only used the words "pass safely," said Dennis Scott, of the Florida Transportation Department. At least five other states have a 3-foot clearance law, but Scott said that distance is a minimum, noting that trucks going 55 mph and passing a bike that close could knock them over with the wind blast.

"Many people don't feel like we belong on the road at all," said cyclist Celia Conti of Plantation. "But now they'll need to know that not only do we belong, but they need to wait if there isn't room to pass."