Location: Nebraska

New 3-Foot Passing Law in Nebraska

Nebraska has become the 24th state to enact a 3-foot passing law.

The law requires motorists to give at least 3 feet of space when passing cyclists, pedestrians, and those operating motorized wheelchairs on the road.

Here’s what Sen. Thomas Hansen of North Platte, who introduced the bill, had to say about the measure after it was introduced in January:

This week I introduced LB 1030 on behalf of several individuals in the district that experienced serious and even fatal motor vehicle accidents. The bill amends the Rules of the Road by requiring motor vehicle drivers to leave a distance of no less than three feet clearance to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, bicycle or electric personal assistance mobility device when traveling in the same direction. More and more citizens are making choices to use alternate modes of travel either for exercise or because the price of gasoline is rising. This bill attempts to make motorists aware of the rights of pedestrians or bicycles traveling on our roads and also attempts to protect them from careless drivers. If enacted, motorists convicted of violating the law would be guilty of a traffic infraction and would be fined $100 to $300, depending upon the frequency of the offense in one year’s time.

A number of Nebraska cyclists testified in favor of the bill on February 6th, the Nebraska legislature passed LB1030, “Change provisions relating to obligations of drivers”, on April 4th (by a unanimous 45-0 vote!), and Governor Dave Heineman signed it into law on April 10th.

Relevant text of the bill:

The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care, which shall include, but not be limited to, leaving a safe distance of no less than three feet clearance, when applicable, when passing a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device.

Read the full text here.

The McCook Daily Gazette reported that:

Now the Legislature is getting into the act in a small but important way, passing a law 45-0 to require motorists to keep a safe distance — at least 3 feet — away when passing bicyclists and personal mobility scooters. Violators face a traffic citation and $500 fine.

The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Tom Hansen of North Platte, who introduced the bill after several residents in his district were struck by vehicles, including a music teacher who was jogging and two bicyclists. One cyclist, Levern Walter, was killed in a hit-and-run collision last year. The other, Martin Cordes, was flown to a Denver hospital last year with a broken pelvis, arms, ribs and back.

“We need to share the road, and we need to make Nebraska a more bike-friendly state,” Hansen told the Associated Press. “In town, we have the sidewalks — not a problem there. But it’s out in the country that people are walking and biking for exercise.”

Actually, we don’t have the sidewalks in town — bicycles should be ridden on the streets and obey traffic laws the same as cars.

But we do have the walking trail which can be used for bicycling, and are looking forward to seeing it extended farther — from H Street south — in the near future.

So good luck to the bicyclists in promoting their activity, and a reminder to drivers: Giving cyclists extra room isn’t just good manners, soon it will be the law. [read more]

Congratulations, Nebraska!

The Kansas 3-Foot Passing Law went into affect last year (see 3-Foot Passing: It’s The Law in Kansas!).

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

One response to “New 3-Foot Passing Law in Nebraska”

  1. Alan Brady says:

    I think anytime we are looking out to protect those who can’t protect themselves we are moving in the right direction. Clearly a automobile can seriously harm a cyclist. We should help the cyclist as we would for anyone else that could potentially be in harms way. Motorists should always be driving on the defensive.