Paulin proposes 3-foot buffer for cyclists
I sense a little game of dress-up in the announcement of Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s bill that would give cyclists a 3-foot buffer on the roads.
The Scarsdale Democrat’s office pitched its proposed 3-foot rule as an environmental measure more than a bike safety regulation. Paulin and state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins had told me in November that they were going to propose the rule, perhaps in January. It’s coming out now, so Paulin’s office has put a green hat on it, saying it comes “in time for Earth Day.”
If the rule makes more people feel safe enough to leave their cars home and ride their bicycles, Paulin reasons, it will help cut pollution.
“We are happy that this bill has been formally introduced in the Assembly just in time for Earth Day, as bicycling is one of the best environmental contributions that people can make when it comes to transportation,” Paulin said in a release.
In any case, the bill is in. You can read it here.
And below is the text of the press release:
Assemblywoman Paulin Introduces Environmentally-Friendly Bike Safety Bill in time for Earth Day
For Immediate Release: April 22, 2010
Just in time for Earth Day, Assemblywoman Paulin announced the formal introduction of a bill (A.10697) that will require motorists to remain at least three feet away from cyclists on the road. This clearance will give motorists a margin of error when passing cyclists in case either the motorist or the cyclist is suddenly required to change course.
The need for this legislation was highlighted when Greenburgh resident and cyclist Merrill Cassell was killed by a Westchester Bee-Line bus. Merrill, a tireless advocate for making cycling a realistic transportation option, was traveling in the same direction as a Bee-Line bus on Route 119 in Tarrytown.
“It’s common sense that we pass bills that encourage cycling, an act that encourages good health and helps the environment,” said Assemblywoman Paulin, “We are happy that this bill has been formally introduced in the Assembly just in time for Earth Day, as bicycling is one of the best environmental contributions that people can make when it comes to transportation.”
Activists say that enacting a three-foot rule will help increase public awareness that cyclists have a right to be on the road as well as educate motorists about safe practices with cyclists on the road.
“Making roads safer for cyclists is essential in our car-centric world,” said David Wilson, president of the 1,400-member Westchester Cycle Club and co-founder of the Westchester-Putnam Bike Walk Alliance. “The three-foot rule will create a safety buffer between cars and cyclists.”
According to Jennifer Clunie, executive director of the New York Bicycle Coalition, at least 17 states, including Connecticut, have passed laws requiring motorists to give cyclists a three-foot buffer.
“Cyclists may have the need–as well as the legal right–to move further into the travel lane due to hazards such as potholes and gravel, and to be more visible to drivers,” said Clunie, “Enactment of a three foot minimum safe passing law is a step in the right direction toward reducing the high number of bicyclist and pedestrian injures and fatalities that occur each year. The bill will make our roadways safer for everyone.”