Safe Passing 3 Feet Comes into Law
Thank You to Everyone that Testified in Support!
The Safe Passing 3 Foot law is the result of a tremendous advocacy effort. Thank you to the 300+ individuals and numerous partner organizations that submitted testimony in support.
What is the Safe Passing law?
The Safe Passing 3 Foot law requires that motorists provide a minimum of 3 feet of separation when passing a bicyclist. The Safe Passing 3 Foot law amended the existing Hawaii Revised Statutes 291c-43 – which already required safe passing – to state specifically that 3 feet is the minimum safe passing when a motorist overtakes or passes a bicyclist.
Why is it important for Hawaii?
Safer Streets – The Safe Passing 3 Feet law makes our roads safer for cycling (and for all road users) by setting a clear minimum safe passing distance. This directly address one of the biggest hazards to people who bicycle.
- 30 cyclists have been killed on Hawaii’s roads in 10 years (2005-2014, source)
- 44% of all cyclist fatalities result from being struck from behind or sideswiped (national data, source)
- 12% of cyclists “felt threatened for personal safety” the last time they rode and “someone drove too close to me” was the primary reason (national data, source)
Sharing Our Roads – Safely sharing our roads requires clear ground rules. No driver wants to hit a cyclist, and some just don’t understand what a safe passing distance is. The Safe Passing 3 Foot law makes it clear to all drivers that 3 feet is the minimum safe passing distance.
Check out this HBL volunteer-made video (above) with safe streets supporters sharing their message of safety! https://youtu.be/7KQMV5FwQbo
Does it work elsewhere?
Thirty-six states and Washington DC have a Safe Passing law (source). Police, cities, states, and nonprofits are using signage, enforcement and awareness campaigns to make their Safe Passing laws make their streets safer.
Signage 3 Feet It’s the Law
Nothing is clearer than signs on the streets that inform drivers that they must pass a bicyclist with at least 3 feet distance. Image courtesy of Illinois.
Awareness campaigns are a key part of making sure everyone is aware of and knows the importance of giving at least 3 feet. Image courtesy of California.
Police departments from Memphis to Austin to Tampa are enforcing their Safe Passing 3 Feet laws to keep their streets safe. Image courtesy of Memphis, TN.
What can you do to help?
The Safe Passing 3 Foot law is the result of a tremendous advocacy effort. Thank you to the 300+ individuals and numerous partner organizations that submitted testimony in support. But there will be more advocacy efforts to make Hawaii truly bicycle friendly so please sign up for our Bike Advocacy Team email list and Donate to Support our Advocacy work.
- Why is a Safe Passing 3 Foot law important?
A Safe Passing 3 Foot law makes it clear to motorists how much space they should give when passing a cyclist. Getting motorists to give more space is GIANT in making it safer for cyclists and all user of our roadways. 44% of all cyclist fatalities involve being hit from behind or sideswiped.
- Do any other states have Safe Passing laws?
36 states and the District of Columbia have safe passing laws. 26 of the state laws specify 3 feet.
- Do any states have laws that specify greater than 3 feet?
Pennsylvania has a Safe Passing 4 Feet law and 3 other states (NH, RI, OR) have laws that require motorists to give 4 or more feet under certain circumstance (for example, New Hampshire’s law requires 3 feet at 30mph and an additional foot for every 10 mph increase).
- Is the Safe Passing law enforceable?
Yes. There are proven strategies to enforce Safe Passing law. The cities on Austin and Memphis and the state of Florida have well established and effective programs for enforcing their Safe Passing 3 Foot laws.
- Is the only benefit enforcement?
No. Education is a big benefit. A Safe Passing 3 Foot law makes it very clear to everyone what distance is the appropriate minimum when passing a bicyclist. Most states install signage (i.e. “3 Feet It’s the Law) that serves as an education and awareness tool.
- What if there’s not enough space for a motorist to pass and give 3 feet?
Motorists have to wait until it is safe to pass with providing 3 feet space.