New Law Makes You Move Over for Cyclists

A new law taking effect Sunday requires you to give bicyclists a three-foot safety zone when passing one on the road.

The goal is to encourage motorists to share the road and cut down on Florida’s deadly record of traffic crashes. Cyclists say the law is long overdue.

John Sipay has enjoyed the sport of cycling for 30 years, but he hasn’t always enjoyed the way motorists treat him on the road.

“I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me and people have even come up and slapped me on my behind and cursed me, and you name it.”
A new law taking effect in October won’t do anything about the beer bottles, but it will give Sipay and other cyclists a little more piece of mind. It requires motorists to give bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles that can legally be on the road a three-foot safety margin.

Florida actually is a national leader in traffic fatalities involving cyclists. Nearly 550 cyclists have been killed here over the past five years.

Police say the new law means saying you didn’t have room to move over is no longer an excuse. You have to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass at least three feet from the cyclist.

Whether the road has a shoulder or not, the pedestrian, the bicyclist or someone in a wheelchair, they obviously do have the right to be there, so you just can’t collide into them or force them off the road.

The new law probably won’t change attitudes overnight, but John Sipay and other cyclists hope it will at least make the roads a little safer.