As a St Louis injury lawyer and cyclist, I have written several articles about about bicycling injuries and Missouri law as well as bicycle safety in Missouri. Through participation with several Missouri organisations we keep and eye on developing law in Missouri and across the country related to cyclist safety.
Just this week, a new law went into effect in Pennsylvania requiring drivers to leave at least a 4 foot buffer when passing cyclists. Clearly such a law is met with a flurry of conflicting opinions from fairness to enforceability. To me, regardless of the enforcement problems, it is an important law to have for public policy reasons, it is a reminder to drivers to give cyclists a much room as reasonably possible. OF course there are situations where a 4 foot buffer is not available because a road may be narrow or other conditions, well in that case the driver should give as much room as reasonably possible. My drive home everyday is down Clayton road and a stretch of it that is very popular with cyclists in St Louis. Most drivers give cyclists plenty of room when passing, however, I often see drivers just barely giving enough room, either out of negligence or spite, in either even it is dangerous.
In situations involving car versus bike collisions violation of the law can be helpful evidence and used to prove negligence or liability on behalf of the driver that struck the cyclist. Currently, Missouri's law states that a vehicle must maintain a "safe distance" when passing a bike. Missouri version of the law states:
"The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, as defined in section 300.010, RSMo, shall leave a safe distance when passing the bicycle, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle."
See St Louis Missouri Bike Lawyer Artilce "Missouri bike accident case settles for three times the amount of medical bills" Quoting Missouri Statute 304.678.
I have used this law in several bike accident cases to support the biker's case that the driver was at fault for passing too close to the bike. Is it true the 4 foot buffer will be difficult to enforce, yes, but that does not mean it should not be a law. It is a another State taking a positive step toward recognizing bicyclist safety is an important issue that must be enforced.
Clayton Missouri bike lawyer Ben Sansone represents injured bikers all across Missouri and Illinois, including, St Charles, Wentzville, Arnold, Jefferson County, Madison County, and St Clair County. If you have been injured in a bike collision call us for a free and no obligation consultation. (314) 863-0500.