Ohio Bicycle Accidents Hope To Be Reduced With New Law Requiring Ohio Drivers To Move Over At Least Three Feet When Passing Bicyclists.
A new move over law went into effect on March 21 that requires Ohio drivers to move over if they want to pass bicyclists. The new measure aims to reduce the number of Ohio bicycle accidents and injuries. Ohio House Bill 154 calls for drivers to provide a safe passing distance of three feet or more to the left of the bicycle.
Under the new legislation, motorists will have to cross the center lane to pass a bicyclist safely if a bicyclist is in the roadway or riding on the yellow line along the shoulder. If traffic is not clear or when drivers are approaching a blind hill, motorists will have to slow down behind the bicyclist until they can safely pass. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo already had three-foot passing ordinances, the Journal-News reported. Now, safe passing laws for bicyclists are in uniformity with the enactment of House Bill 154.
Ohio is among 29 states and the District of Columbia to enact “3-feet or safe passing laws,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The NCSL says safe passing laws are designed to make sure that motor vehicles, when passing bicycles, allow adequate space to avoid sideswiping bicyclists or cause them to overcorrect to avoid a vehicle.
Ohio saw 1,110 traffic fatalities in 2015, and included in that number were 25 Ohio bicycle accident fatalities, which was 2.3 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities, according to the latest statistics available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ohio’s percentage mirrored that of the nationwide percentage figure. There were 818 bicyclist deaths in 2015, which accounted for 2.3 percent of all traffic fatalities, the NHTSA reported. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812382
Ohio’s safe passing law joins other state “Move Over, Slow Down” laws aimed at protecting law enforcement officers, road service, road maintenance and construction workers. The “Move Over” law requires drivers to move to another lane or slow down when approaching stationary emergency vehicles or road service vehicles with their lights activated. According to the 2015 Ohio Crash Statistics Report, there were 6,103 road accidents occurring in or around work zones, up from 5,149 in 2014. Of the total number of work-zone related crashes in 2015, 28 resulted in fatalities compared to 17 fatalities in 2014. In 2015, there were 1,455 injuries in work-zone related crashes, up from 1,189 in 2014.
Ohio Department of Public Safety said in its 2015 report that the collaborative efforts of public safety agencies statewide has had a significant impact on the number of people killed on Ohio’s highways, but there is still work to be done.