A proposed law that would codify the distance between bicycles and passing traffic is directly aimed at combatting the rising number of bicycle accidents in New York. If passed, New York would join a number of other states that require motorists to grant bicycles at least 3 feet when passing. This safety barrier is designed to prevent accidental collisions and mandates that automobile operators share the road.
The vast majority of serious bicycle accidents in New York City involve collisions with cars. The majority of those involve a driver’s failure to yield the road to the bicyclist. This three-foot-barrier proposed by State Senator Pete Harckman would augment legislation already on the books in order to add additional space for cyclists when drivers are overtaking them on the roadway.
However, the legislation would not—as it is written now—apply to New York City. Cities with populations of 1 million people or more would be exempt from the new law because it would be nearly impossible for drivers in the city to safely allow 3 feet for cyclists without stopping traffic or causing potential multi-car collisions.
The fact that such legislation is once again being debated (after failing to pass in 2019) is a clear indication that lawmakers are taking bicycle safety more safely now than ever before. However, even if this bill does pass into law or if New York City adopts a similar piece of legislation, how vigorously would this new law be enforced?
New York traffic laws are already written in such a way that drivers must always exercise care when approaching pedestrians and bicyclists. Failure to exercise that duty of care may expose the driver and vehicle owner to liability for the collisions (thus any injuries or financial losses).
If you’ve been injured by a careless or reckless driver, an experienced bicycle accident attorney in New York City can help you get any compensation you are entitled to. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-7349338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation today.