Safe Passing Law Would Help Keep Massachusetts Bicyclists Safer

UPDATE: The League of American Bicyclists ranked Massachusetts in 4th place in 2015

The League of American Bicyclists recently ranked all 50 states according to their bicycle friendliness, and placed Massachusetts in 3rd place.  Massachusetts bicyclists would be much safer if the state adopted a vulnerable road user’s law that requires all motorists to maintain a minimum safe passing distance when they pass by a bicyclist.   Such legislation should also come with strict penalties attached for violations.

Massachusetts, which ran close behind Washington and Minnesota, was found to meet most of the key indicators that were used to gauge the bicycle -friendliness of a state.  These 5 indicators were Legislation and Enforcement, Education and Encouragement and Evaluation and Planning, and Massachusetts scored a good 4 out of 5 on all of these indicators.  The other indicators were Policies and Programs, on which Massachusetts scored a full 5, and Infrastructure and Funding, on which Massachusetts was given a low score of 2.

A national ranking of 3 does not mean that Massachusetts is a bicyclist’s paradise bicyclists in Massachusetts would be at a much lower risk of injuries if the state had a safe passing Law of the type that has been passed by many other states around the country.  A law like this would require that motorists maintain a minimum distance while they pass by a bicyclist.

Most states have what is called a ‘3-feet law,’ which requires that motorists maintain at least 3 feet of space when they pass by a bicyclist.  A law like this, according to the League of American Bicyclists, would increase bicycling numbers in Massachusetts, which are currently below par.  Massachusetts has a total bicycling population that is less than 1% of its total population.