Cyclists know the harsh reality of taking their life in their hands when they head out on the open road. Helmets, rearview mirrors and all the colorful, lycra bodysuits won’t save them from impact if drivers aren’t paying attention— or if drivers scare cyclists by driving too close. A recently passed Ohio law looks out for bike enthusiasts: The three-feet-buffer rule forces driver’s to give a wide berth, at least 36 inches, of space to bike riders on the road. While Toledo has had a buffer rule in place for the last several years, this law expands safety coverage to the entire state.
Violations of the law are classified as a minor misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $150 upon conviction. Unfortunately, citations under the new law will be issued primarily after cars have hit cyclists. And those the white painted “ghost bikes” propped up along area roadways, signifying that a bicyclist was killed at that spot, show that auto-bike impacts come with dire results.
Bike Cleveland, a cycling club in Cuyahoga County, has purchased a device that will allow riders to accurately measure their distance from passing vehicles. According to fox8.com, they intend to loan it to the area police departments as a means of aiding safety enforcement. The device, called a C3FT costs $1400 and is available from codaxus.com/c3ft.
Ohio, which is the 28th state to enact a bicycle buffer law, has over 3,000 miles of bike trails, many of which place riders in roadway sharing with vehicles.