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Safe passing bill hearing in Olympia today supports bicycling

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Thanks to all those bicyclists who are heading to Olympia today for Transportation Advocacy Day.

3 feet decalOne bicycle-friendly Senate bill that’s on tap for a hearing Tuesday would make it legal for motorists to cross over a double-yellow line to give safe passage to bicyclists or pedestrians. The bill defines safe passage as a 3-foot gap.

At last count, there are 21 states that have laws on the books requiring motorists to give bicyclists a 3-foot gap when passing. The state of Washington is not one of them, although the Washington Driver Guide says on page 79: “Allow at least three feet of space when overtaking or passing a bicycle.”

SB 5564 says a vehicle shall be driven on the right half of the roadway, except “when overtaking and passing a pedestrian or bicyclist so as to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet.”

The companion bill in the House is HB 1743.

The Senate Transportation Committee will hear testimony about the bill, and some other bills, at 3:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live at TVW and available for replay about two hours after the session ends.

Barb Chamberlain, executive director of Bicycle alliance of Washington, also says another bill that could have ramifications for bicyclists is also being heard on Tuesday. House Bill 1233 includes health in the state transportation system policy goals. That would highlight the value of walking and biking and the importance of investing in projects to support healthy, active transportation.

HB 1233 will be heard by the House Transportation Committee at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2013/02/12/safe-passing-bill-hearing-in-olympia-today-supports-bicycling/

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