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As of today, it will no longer be legal for a vehicle in Pennsylvania to speed past a bicyclist just inches away or make a sharp right turn directly in the path of a bicycle rider. A state law that took effect at 12:01 a.m. requires motorists who pass bicyclists to give them at least 4 feet of buffer space. Pennsylvania is the 19th state to enact a law requiring a buffer zone when motor vehicles pass bicyclists.

If a driver cannot pass a cyclist safely, they must wait to pass. The measure also prohibits the “right hook” turn by a driver — a vehicle making a sudden right turn directly in the path of a cyclist.

The law requires cyclists traveling at below the normal speed of traffic to use the right lane or to stay “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” except when passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn. It allows them to move away from the curb to avoid hazards like potholes or debris.

A key section for motorists states: “The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.” Violations are summary offenses that carry a $25 fine.

The law allows drivers on two-lane roads to cross the center line in overtaking a bicycle if there is no oncoming traffic.

What is your state's experience with reducing bicyclist's injuries when this type of law is enacted?

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