A bill going through the statehouse could possibly make riding on streets safer for bicyclists. The local bicyclist community says this bill is a long-time coming.
Introduced this past January, House Bill 1236 would require motorists to move over at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist.
“An operator of a vehicle is how they state it, actually can pull over to the left lane to pass, even in a no passing zone, as long as it’s safe. And then once they get passed a cyclist, they can return to the right lane when they are a safe distance past the cyclist,” says Mona Will, board member of Bicycle Indiana.
Mona says not always can cyclists ride on shoulders, because of debris and potholes. Sometimes there isn’t even a shoulder to ride on, like in front of Summit City Bicycles and Fitness, where employees bike to work.
“There’s a lot of people that would maybe be happy to commute instead of drive a car, and might have anxieties about using roadways versus using a trail system. And I think that a law that would provide riders with a little bit more safety could be really great for not just our community, but all communities nationwide,” says James Holm, bicycle commuter and worker at Summit City Bicycles and Fitness.
In Fort Wayne are bike lanes to make the streets cycle friendly, as well as already implementing the 3-foot law in the city.
Mona says Indiana is part of the 14 states that don’t have a safe passing law. She says having an actual law in place will educate drivers what to do when they encounter a cyclist.
“Once it’s law, now it will be in driving trainer’s manuals, and so younger will know how to pass,“ says Mona.
For everyone else, Mona expects other types of publications will inform drivers how to legally pass a bicyclist.
The bill currently needs to go back to the house for amendments, then it can go to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk for his approval.