Pa. Senate backs plan to protect bicyclists

Pennsylvania’s Senate has approved a bill known as the “Safe Passing Law.”  It calls for cars to leave a 4-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist and would apply in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

“Anybody who’s bicycled for any period of time at some point on the road has been buzzed by a vehicle moving too close to them,” says John Boyle, research director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

“Every once in a while, it causes a crash,” he said. “It’s a very scary experience. I’ve actually been brushed by a mirror by someone going at very fast speeds by me on Fifth Street … I actually try to avoid that street now.”

Boyle called the bill an “educational” law on how to pass a bicyclist.

“We’re really happy that the bill has been passed, and we hope that there is an education campaign at some point in the future to help motorists understand exactly what the bill means,” Boyle said.

The new bill could make his commute a little easier by this spring. It’s now on Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk. If he signs it, the law will take effect in 60 days.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.