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Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC | New Kentucky Bicycle Law Requires Drivers to Stay 3' Away From Bicyclists -  Image Name

It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s the law. Bicyclists are pleased that Kentucky has fallen in line with 34 other states by requiring a motorist to drive a vehicle a minimum of three feet away from any bicyclist that motorist is trying to pass. If it gets tighter than that, motorists are required to use reasonable caution when passing a bicyclist. That might happen in a single lane roadway with a width of 10 to 12 feet. If an another lane of traffic is available to complete that passing maneuver, motorists are allowed to use that lane, so long as there’s sufficient sight distance to safely pass. This law went into effect July 14, 2018.

No Penalties?

The new three foot law doesn’t have any teeth. That’s because there aren’t any specific penalties for violating it. The legislative intent behind the law is to educate drivers about cyclists on the road and provide a legal framework when a passing accident does occur. It a driver hits a bicyclist who is using a bike lane or at the far right side of the road, it’s likely that the driver will be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit against him or her. Whether that driver received a ticket for the accident is actually irrelevant, but a guilty plea by a motorist on a specific traffic citation could be of great help in proving liability. If a police officer personally witnessed a passing accident, and he or she reasonably believed that the motorist passed the bicyclist with less than three feet of space, any testimony to that end would likely be admissible in a personal injury case filed by the bicyclist against the motorist. A police officer as an eyewitness to an accident doesn’t happen very often though.

People Need to Know About This

The new three foot law can only be effective if drivers know about it. Information about the law will be published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Division of Driver Licensing in new driver’s manuals. Expect to see other educational materials in connection with the new law like shirts, stickers and road signs.

Kentucky Bicycle Crash Lawyer

If you or a family member were seriously injured as a bicyclist as a result of motorist’s passing maneuver, don’t hesitate to contact our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case review. We’re going to listen to you closely and answer all of your questions.