HB154 Passes the Ohio House; Take Action for the Senate to Pass

****UPDATE**** May 26th, 2016

Word is that the Ohio Senate just went to recess and did not act on SB192/HB154. Watch for a push in the fall after recess encouraging them to bring the 3ft passing bill to a vote. In the meantime if you have a chance to meet with your Ohio Senate Representative during the summer be sure to let them know you ride a bike and you want them to pass SB192 to make our streets safe.

May 25th, 2016 – Thanks to your urging the Ohio House of Representatives passed HB154, Ohio’s 3ft passing law. Now we need your help in getting the bill through the Ohio Senate before they break for recess. The identical 3ft passing bill in the senate is SB192.

Currently SB192 is in the Senate Transportation, Labor and Commerce Committee. Please take a moment to contact the committee chair Frank LaRose and the Committee Co-Chair Gayle Manning urging them to approve the bill and to send it to the Ohio Senate floor for a vote:

Frank LaRose
Phone: (614) 466-4823

Gayle Manning
Phone: (614) 644-7613

Then reach out to your local Ohio State Senator urging them to support SB192. You can find your local Senator here by putting in your zip code.

Here are some talking points you can use about why SB192, and a statewide 3ft Passing Law is needed to make our state safe for people on bikes:

  1. SB192It clarifies the existing law (ORC 4511.27) that mandates passing at a “safe distance” by explicitly defining 3 feet as the minimum “safe” distance. Many motorists are simply unaware or unsure of the space requirements people on bikes need to operate safely, and this law will help them understand what is expected of them rather than relying on an ambiguous definition that lacks consistency.
  2.  It creates an enforceable guideline for law enforcement to better protect people from dangerous drivers. In 2013, Austin, TX conducted an operation that resulted in 104 citations for people in cars passing dangerously close to people on bikes. They followed up with a PSA to help educate motorists on safe passing techniques and demonstrate how dangerous passing too closely is. Naples, FL have enacted similar provisions, while police in Chattanooga, TN have taken it a step further by investing in equipment to directly measure passing distances. Such equipment costs $1,400 a unit and is no different than departments investing in equipment to improve public safety. Even one life saved is worth much more than $1,400.
  3. Dangerous drivers can be held accountable for their actions. No longer will unsafe drivers be able to shift blame to the victim by arguing they initiated a “safe” (and thus legal) pass that went awry because of something the cyclist did. It creates criminal and civil protection for victims of dangerous or aggressive driving.
  4. Unexpected surface hazards such as pot holes, surface debris, drain grates, or other obstacles exist that require people on bikes to deviate their line to avoid or negotiate. Mandating that drivers must provide additional clearance to bikers so they can safely execute this maneuver will protect cyclists and save lives.
  5. This law will not impede traffic, as it is already permissible under the Ohio Revised Code for motorists to cross the solid yellow line to pass slow moving vehicles (ORC 4511.31). Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo have already adopted three foot passing laws, and Ohio would join 26 other states who have already enacted similar provisions. Creating a uniform state law will protect motorists from inadvertently breaking the law as they travel between jurisdictions.