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3ft Safe Passing - Respect

Did you know that 40 states plus the District of Columbia require that motorists give cyclists at least 3' of room when passing? Unfortunately, New York is one of the 10 remaining states that do not! New York requires only that motorists provide a "safe distance" when passing a cyclist. This vague and subjective language does not help new drivers learn specifically what they need to do to protect vulnerable road users.

NYBC is trying to change that with a new bill: Defined Safe Passing S1724 (Harckham) | A04346 (Steck) modeled after New Jersy's "move over" law that would require motorists to allow at least three feet between vehicle and pedestrians, bicyclists, and wheelchair users when overtaking or passing statewide except New York City which will continue to require “safe distance.”  The bill would save lives, reduce medical costs and prevent horrific injuries. We think it simple: “Wait the few seconds it takes until you can pass safely -- don’t save a few seconds, save a life!”

New York should join our immediate neighbors - Massachusetts (4’), New Jersey (4’), Pennsylvania (4’), Connecticut (3’), and Ohio (3’) in implementing Defined Safe Passing. 

New York’s Monroe and Suffolk counties have passed local 3' safe passing laws for cyclists.  If you are a local advocate you could consider working with your local municipality on a local law!  Meanwhile we believe a uniform law across the state should be adopted to protect vulnerable road users and reduce driver confusion.

The lack of a Defined Safe Passing law is one of the primary reasons that New York is one of only four states rated F or F+ in the League of American Bicyclists Traffic Laws & Practices category.  Defined Safe Passing would move NYS to the top 10 bicycle friendly states in the nation (we are currently #13), opening New York for more cycling tourism.

Defined Safe Passing passed in the NYS Senate in 2023, and we are working with our friends at the NYS Safe Streets Coalition to get it passed in the Assembly this year to make Defined Safe Passing a reality in New York.  If you want to help, here are some things you can do:

  • Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Chair of the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee, requesting that he allow a vote on the bill.

  • Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to thank him for sponsoring the bill again this year!

  • Click on this link to Assembly Bill 04346 and see if your Assembly Member is already listed as a co-sponsor. If so, write and thank them! If not ask your Assembly Member to sign on.  (Not sure who your Assembly Member is? Use this tool to find out)

  • Be part of our network! Individuals and organizations who are interested in bicycle/pedestrian issues, disability rights, environmental sustainability, safety, seniors, and many others all have a stake in helping to pass this legislation! Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see how you can help.

  • Support our work by making a donation to NYBC's Advocacy efforts!

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