This past December avid cyclist Patrick Ytsma was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Bethlehem. The motorist neglected to leave enough room while passing Patrick. He died four days later.
In the days following his death, it became clear that Patrick was a stickler for safety. Those who knew him stated how he always wore a helmet and reflective clothing. He not only knew the laws about bicycle safety, but he preached them. Yet, how many non-cyclists are familiar with them?
For instance, did you know cyclists are permitted to ride two abreast on a roadway and as far out to the center line as necessary for safe travel? And because bicycles are considered vehicles they must obey all the rules of the road which apply to vehicles. Also, motor vehicles must yield to all slower moving vehicles, i.e., bicycles.
The new law that went into effect on April 1, 2012, states that a motor vehicle passing a cyclist must give the cyclist at least a four-foot “buffer” and may pass only when it is safe. The bill states verbatim, “The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.” Violations are summary offenses and carry a $25 fine.
With the Velodrome’s close proximity to our area and spring training in full swing, we all will benefit keeping in mind this new law as well as brushing up on existing ones to protect all of us sharing the road.
The complete Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual can be found on PennDOT’s website at: