51,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009.  The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., in Reading, PA are experienced in handling bicycle and automobile accident cases resulting in personal injury.

Legislation authored by State Representative Ron Miller (R-Jacobus) that amends the Vehicle Code to improve safety for bicyclists was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on February 2, 2012.

“Bicycling is great exercise and an effective, efficient mode of transportation, and Pennsylvania has miles of beautiful countryside that can be enjoyed on two wheels,” Miller said. “We need to do all that we can to promote the activity and protect bike enthusiasts through legislation that makes it safer for them to enjoy their sport.”

Under House Bill 170, Pennsylvania joins 18 other states in enacting a law to establish minimum safe-passing distances. Miller’s legislation requires the operator of a motor vehicle to pass to the left of a bicyclist within not less than 4 feet at a careful rate of speed.

“Bicycle safety is dependent on both parties having respect for the other,” added Miller. “Some motorists will try to get as close to bicyclists as possible in order to ‘make a statement’ because of a belief that they don’t belong on the road, which is not the case.

“At the same time, while motorists must respect the right-of-way of their two-wheeled counterparts, bicyclists must be mindful of larger vehicles and adhere to the rules of the road that they must also obey.”

With all this in mind, Miller’s bill requires bicycle operators to use reasonable efforts so as not to impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic. In addition, the legislation more clearly defines the requirement that bicyclists operate on the far right side of the roadway when proceeding at less than the prevailing speed.

“House Bill 170 also prohibits motorists from making sudden right turns in front of a cyclist who is proceeding in the same direction,” Miller commented. “Operating a motor vehicle means being cognizant of your surroundings, including bicyclists, before making turns.” (Source: Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus, Press Release, February 3, 2012).

The law takes effect in 60 days.

It is important to contact an experienced injury lawyer if you are involved in a bicycle or automobile accident.  The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C. have handled many serious injury cases in Reading, PA;  Pottsville, PA; and throughout Pennsylvania.

By Andrew F. Fick, Esquire

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