Give Cyclists of Space
Why “Give 3 Feet”?
You can pick up a bumper sticker at the Cascade office, various local retailers and at community events attended by our Bicycle Ambassadors. To have a bumper sticker mailed to you, give us a call at 206-522-3222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Too often cars and bicycles come precariously close to each other. Bicyclists need at least three feet between them and a passing car to be safe. Three feet is the minimum distance that motorists should allow. More than three feet is truly appreciated by cyclists commuting or recreating on shared roads.
A minimum driving distance of three feet from cyclists keeps them protected from dangers such as a side view mirror collision or wind from a vehicle pushing them over. Cyclists also need space to maneuver in the event they need to avoid a pothole or road debris.
As a motorist, you will encounter cyclists on the road. That’s a good thing! Riding a bike to work or school or while running errands:
- Improves health and fitness,
- Reduces pollution and traffic, and
- Creates more livable communities.
- Benefits of allowing three feet when passing:
- Enables motorist to pass safely without worrying about contact,
- Reduces chance of injuring a cyclist with a car’s side view mirror, and
- Increases sense of security for cyclists, who can then avoid debris and potholes without worrying about space.
By giving cyclists three feet, you are supporting a livable community where cyclistsyour friends and neighborscan get where they need to go. Your safer driving practices may someday prevent a terrible accident.
What do I do if I can’t give three feet?
Give ample space to the bicyclist until it is safe to pull around the bike with at least three feet to spare, usually at the end of the block or at a gap in parked cars. Remember, if the vehicle in front of you was a car, you wouldn’t be able to pass it until there was ample room either.
What happens if I’m on a one-lane road or residential street?
Many one-lane roads or alleys are not wide enough to pass a cyclist with three feet of space. Often residential streets have parking on two sides and only one driving lane. If these lanes are not wide enough to pass a cyclist safely, then wait until you can give a cyclist three feet -- at the end of the block or at a gap between parked cars.
What happens at a dedicated bicycle lane?
Some bicycle lanes in the city have parked cars on the inside edge or curb side. Experienced cyclists will ride on the white line or just to the left of the line so that they are three feet away from car doors that might open into them, thus avoiding getting hit by the door, or “doored”.
Why do some cyclists ride outside of the shoulder or in the traffic lane?
- Cyclists should ride as near to the right side of the road as is safe except when making a turn or passing another vehicle.
- In many situations, it is unsafe to ride to the right. For example, if debris or potholes are in the right shoulder, or if there are parked cars, the cyclist should ride to the left of these dangers.
If a cyclist is riding at or near the speed of traffic, usually on a downhill street, the cyclist might take the lane to be safer and more visible at driveways and intersections. This cyclist is not impeding traffic in this case.
Looking for a way to make motorists give you the full three feet? Here's one cyclist's creative solution.