Pennsylvania’s 4-Foot Buffer goes into effect today

As reported on Lehigh Valley Live, Pennsylvania’s 4-Foot buffer goes into effect today:

A Pennsylvania law slated to go into effect Monday requires drivers to allow a 4-foot berth between their vehicles and bicyclists. The legislation will be tricky, if not impossible, to enforce, according to a Lehigh Valley cycling advocate.

The law makes Pennsylvania the 20th state to legislate a distance between motorists and bicyclists, but the Keystone State’s buffer is a foot larger than any other state.

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

I have long believed that passing-buffer laws like this mean well, but are incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. My experience with the 3-foot buffer in Florida, which went into effect in October 2006, suggests that the law didn’t really do anything to change motorist behavior. Furthermore, I have not heard of an example where the law was upheld or used in legal proceedings as part of a bicycle/motor vehicle collision case.

Such laws CAN be beneficial to all road users, but only if enforcement is done in a logical and fair manner, and is coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign to get the word out to bicyclists and motor-vehicle operators. What do you think? Leave your comments below.

About the author

Bicycle commuter since 1989, bicycle enthusiast for 30+ years. I am a Bookmobile/Books By Mail librarian at a large library system and the proud father of two wonderful boys.