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Bicyclists and Ohio’s new 3-foot rule: What you need to know

Bicyclists are a common site on Ohio roadways in the spring and summer but they can also be at risk for collisions with motorists. That’s why Ohio’s new 3-foot rule was enacted – to make the roads safer for all.

Bicycle crashes in Ohio are on the rise. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there were about 1,500 bicycle crashes in 2016. There were about 1,200 in 2015.

Bicycle crashes are particularly concerning, as a bicyclist isn’t protected in the same way as a person riding in or driving a car.

Lawmakers earlier this year passed House Bill 154, known as the 3-foot rule, which mandates that motorists give bicycles a 3-foot clearance when passing. Previously, there was no rule about how close you could pass a bicyclist. This so-called 3-foot rule is aimed at helping motorists and bicyclists better share the road.

Violators of the law could face minor misdemeanor charges and fines.

Similar laws already exist in other states.

With the new law, bicyclists may be at less risk for being hit by a motorist. In addition, it will raise awareness about sharing the roadways safely.

Both motorists and bicyclists have a responsibility to share the road and obey all laws.

Accidents, however, do happen, so if you are a motorist or a bicyclist, it’s wise to take a few precautions.

Bicyclists should always wear a helmet and have gear (lights, reflectors) that help make you more visible to motorists. Motorists should use caution when passing a bicyclist, as well as making sure to watch for bicyclists at intersections and when changing lanes.

Schottenstein Law Offices

If an accident occurs, the legal experts at the Schottenstein Law Offices can help. We can help protect your rights if you or someone you love was injured while riding a bicycle in Ohio.