The Pennsylvania legislature has passed a new law aimed at protecting bicycle riders. The new bicycle safety law, which has already been signed by Governor Tom Corbett and will go into effect on April 2, 2012, will require motorists to maintain at least four feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle and reduce their speed when passing cyclists.
The new law also makes it legal for drivers to cross a double yellow line into the opposing traffic lane if it is necessary to provide a cyclist with the newly required four feet of clearance. However, if there is oncoming traffic, motorists must wait until it is safe to pass a bicyclist. The law will also permit bicyclists to ride at slower than posted speeds and prohibits drivers from turning into a bicyclist's path when making a right-hand turn.
Currently, the law states that motorists can pass cyclists at a "safe distance." Pennsylvania now joins 18 other states that have already passed "safe passing" laws that impose a specific distance at which drivers can pass cyclists.