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Bicycling Bill Makes Room for Cyclists on Kentucky Roadways

Ed Dunens
Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The Kentucky Senate Transportation Committee has unanimously backed a bill to require motorists to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing them.  

Lexington biking enthusiast Bill Fortune attended this week’s hearing in Frankfort.  He believes the three foot requirement is a safe and reasonable distance.  Fortune would also like to see related signage.  

“It is signed in many states so that on highways where, particularly where there are cyclists, it will show a cyclist and say ‘give them three feet’, something along those lines," Fortune explained. "Because otherwise, how are motorists aware of this specific distance?"

Motorists would be allowed to cross a double yellow line in order to pass a cyclist but only when it’s safe to do so. 

Kentucky Bicycle-Bikeway Commission member Doug Brent says the measure is proof of the economic impact of adventure tourism. 

“We have a lot of cyclists who come here from other states to participate in some of the signature events that are held around the state,” explained Brent.  “This law will be consistent with laws in some of those states.”

The bill won unanimous approval in committee.  But, Committee Chair Ernie Harris says he’s heard constituents complain about cyclists on rural roads.  “I live on a narrow country road and my neighbors fuss about the bicyclists all the time," Harris said.  "But the bottom line is they have the right to share the roads, just like my farm tractor or others and you have to have safety precautions to protect them.”

Bill Sponsor Robin Webb believes the full backing of the committee will help move the bill through the senate and house.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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