How much space do drivers have to give cyclists? 

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents |

Many accidents between cyclists and drivers occur because the drivers just do not give the bikes enough space when passing. When there is a bike in the lane, drivers are supposed to share the road, but many of them will try to push their way through as if the road is only for cars.

As a cyclist, you can certainly feel it when someone is too close to your bike and making an unsafe pass. But what does the law say? How much space is required?

A minimum of 3 feet

As a general rule, drivers have to give cyclists a buffer space of at least 3 feet. This should be enough space to allow the cyclist to ride safely. It should prevent or at least reduce the odds of an accident.

There are certainly situations in which drivers do not have 3 feet of open space. Maybe there is oncoming traffic, for instance, on a narrow road. A driver who is behind a cyclist should wait for oncoming traffic to go by before passing safely.

Changing lanes

However, there are situations in which drivers will be using multi-lane roads. A recent law in California says that they are now required to switch lanes to move further away from cyclists who are on the right-hand side of the road. This does not apply on single-lane roads, of course, but on multi-lane roads across California.

Accidents still happen

Both of these laws seek to prevent accidents, but crashes involving cyclists unfortunately do happen. Cyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers must know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.