New Ohio law requires drivers to leave 3 feet of space when passing cyclists

Youngstown's bicycling club is trying to get the word out about the new law

The Outspokin' Wheelmen bike through Mill Creek Park in January 2016.

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – A new law takes effect Sunday that will help cyclists stay safer on the road.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 154 in December, requiring all drivers to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space while passing them.

“For those of you that have ever ridden a bicycle and someone goes flying past you, even at 35 mph or 25 mph, it will startle you. Let alone on the routes where it’s 55 mph,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Bonar.

The law also allows vehicles and bicycles to treat malfunctioning lights as a stop sign. More often than not, bikes don’t have enough weight to activate the detection devices used to trigger traffic lights.

“The main reason for this, when bicycles come to a traffic signal, sometimes the detection devices do not always detect that they are there because they don’t have the mass or the weight or whatever,” said Outspokin’ Wheelmen President Jim Dobran.

Outspokin’ Wheelmen is Youngstown’s bicycling club. They are trying to get the word out about the new law.

“There have been a fair amount of people lately who have been hit by cars or trucks, and you don’t have to be hit going very fast to be hurt quite a bit,” Dobran said.

Pennsylvania already has a law requiring drivers to give cyclists at least 4 feet of space. But, Dobran says this new law in Ohio of 3 feet is a good place to start.