Austin Demonstrates How to Do Safe Passing Laws Right

Three-foot passing laws are well on their way to becoming mainstream. Bike advocates in cities and states around the country have won legal protections like this from California to Cleveland Heights.

One of the common criticisms of the laws is that they are hard to enforce. But Austin, Texas, is showing the way. Last year police officers riding bikes held a sting to nab drivers who violate the rule. They ended up issuing 104 citations, according to the Bike League.

Krista Carlson at Urban Velo reports that city law enforcement officials remain vigilant, even producing the above video:

Shortly after the passage of Austin’s Vulnerable Road User Ordinance, the Austin Police Department released this video to demonstrate how to pass safely. In addition to the agency’s Safe Biking sting, the PSA is a complementary way in which the Austin PD has taken steps to apply its local safe passing law and acknowledge that its effectiveness lies in its enforcement.

“Vulnerable Road User Ordinance violations are very hard to observe and enforce,” said Austin Police Commander Fred Fletcher. “It is our hypothesis that most VRUO violations occur because motor vehicle operators are simply unaware of how dangerous it is – and how it feels – for a vehicle to pass closely to a vulnerable road user.”

Austin Police Chief Juan Acevedo clarifies in the following video that drivers will not be cited for crossing the double yellow line in order to pass safely. Drivers will, however, be found at fault if involved in a head-on collision while crossing the double yellow in an attempt to pass.

Elsewhere on the Network today: ATL Urbanist considers how downtown Atlanta could become more family friendly. The Active Pursuit reports state leaders in Wisconsin are stalling on a proposed vulnerable road users law. And the Bike League rallies the troops for the upcoming fight over a new transportation bill in Washington.