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Monday, December 31, 2007

Gimme 3 feet, gimme 3 feet mister

With apologies to Lynard Skynyrd and the band's classic rock song "Gimme Three Steps," here's a reminder for all motorists in Illinois:

Won't you give me three feet,
gimme three feet mister,
gimme three feet from my bike!
Gimme three feet,
gimme three feet mister,
and you'll safely pass me by!

The new Illinois law that requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when they pass a cyclist goes in effect New Year's Day. Motorists must maintain that clearance until they safely pass the bicycle.

The new law also allows cyclists to extend their right arms to signal a right turn and allows cyclists to "take the lane" where right turns are authorized.

In addition, it also requires bicyclists -- in most cases -- to ride as far to the right as practicable and safe. The law previously only said as far to the right as practicable. The League of Illinois Bicyclists contended that the law as previously written was misinterpreted as being as far to the right as possible; it says the new phrasing re-enforces exceptions while providing some flexibility.

The image above clicks to a larger version of LIB's explanation of the law. You also may download a PDF version of the explanation at LIB's Web site.

Also starting New Year's Day, all Illinois residents -- including cyclists -- will be able to breathe a little easier. The Smoke-Free Illinois Act goes in effect tomorrow, meaning smoking will be banned in nearly all Illinois restaurants, bars, workplaces and public buildings. Smoking also is banned within 15 feet of a public business entrance, open windows and ventilation intakes.

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Roger 3 comments links to this post 10:33 AM

More room is better than less but how will a cyclist prove that the "three-feet rule" was violated?

Complete Streets is a major step, more important than the three-foot rule. Best wishes,
Happy New Year to you Roger!

I'm not a big fan of the 3 foot rule -- there's considerable political capital expended to get a law like this passed that is mostly symbolic and likely unenforced. I like the change about "practicable and safe" and the right turn signal flexibility.
Happy smoking ban and three-foot passing day! And New Year!

I'm rather glad the three-foot rule is on the books now. The difference between "ought to" and "shall" can be significant in court. Or at least it ought to be.
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