Study Finds Three-Foot Law Not Followed [Urbanite]

Motorists in Baltimore not giving cyclists enough buffer space


Cyclists in Baltimore are routinely passed by automobiles traveling within the three feet of buffer space afforded to them by a 2010 law, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.
The study—"Is the three-foot bicycle passing law working in Baltimore, Maryland?"—found that one in six drivers in Baltimore had violated the three-foot law. More than ten hours of video footage was recorded for the purpose of the study, in which cyclists traveled to and from work in the neighborhoods of Hampden, Charles Village, Mount Vernon, and Pigtown. Researchers found that on standard, 10-foot-wide lanes, average vehicle passing distance was 4.8 feet, and that 17% of vehicle passes (78 of 451 in this study) were three feet or less. A key finding was that "none of the 88 passes that occurred in bicycle lane streets were three feet or less," and the average vehicle passing distance on 13-foot-wide lanes with adjoining bicycle lanes was 7.7 feet. Ultimately, the study determined that "the three-foot law is not followed and cyclist safety may be compromised."