Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
On January 27 Pennsylvania became the 19th state in the nation to have a “safe passing” law regarding motor vehicles passing bicycles on the highway. Governor Corbett signed the act into law on February 2, 2012. According to Bernard Harris of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal the new state law established a four foot “cushion of safety” around bicyclists. This law also states that motorists may cross the yellow center line when moving to the left to pass a bicycle rider as long as opposing traffic allows it. The law took effect sixty days after it was signed by Governor Corbett.
As reported by writer Bernard Harris this law also makes it illegal for a motorist to pass a bicycle only to make a right turn. This move is commonly referred to as a “right hook” by bicyclists, and often requires riders to hit their brakes to keep from running into the turning vehicle. A violation of the new law is a summary offense which carries a $25 fine plus costs. Bernard Harris also reminds us in his article that under state law bicycles are considered vehicles and as such are entitled to all the rights and responsibilities of any other motor vehicle on our highways including the obligation to obey all traffic signs and signals.
I believe that this law recognizes what bicyclists have known for years … that in any collision between a bicyclist and a motor vehicle, the bicyclist is at a much greater risk for serious injury than the occupant of the automobile. Read Bernard Harris’ complete article on this new law.
If you are a bicyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney so that they can advise you of your rights and take all steps necessary to protect your legal interests including the preservation of important evidence. Remember that initial consultations at our office are always free.