Arkansas enacted a 3-foot passing law in 2007, and in the 5+ years since, there have been no media campaigns to educate the public about how the law works, the reasons behind it, and how it enhances safety for both motorists and bicyclists.
Finally, someone is stepping up to attempt to change that. The city of North Little Rock is launching a media campaign to raise public awareness about the bicycle passing law.
The city’s Fit 2 Live health initiative and its Bicycle Friendly Community Committee recently held a public kick-off event, with aldermen, police, firemen and MEMS personnel on hand to unveil a billboard, yard sign and bumper sticker designs to be used in the campaign.
According to a press release:
Arkansas’ 3-foot passing law requires motorists to leave at least 3 feet of space between their vehicle and the cyclist they are passing. While new drivers are informed about the law on their drivers’ test, most seasoned drivers are not aware of the law. Adequate passing distance is essential to cyclists’ safety, as is the recognition by drivers that cyclists have a right to — and are required to — bike on the roadways.
“Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles,” says Bernadette Gunn Rhodes, North Little Rock’s Fit 2 Live Coordinator. “This campaign will emphasize to drivers that bikes belong on the roads as much as motorists do, and that there is a simple way to coexist safely with cyclists, which is to give them at least three feet passing distance.”
“Our goal with the Bicycle Friendly Community Committee is to provide both facilities and education in North Little Rock that make bicycling a safe, attractive and regular activity for our residents — for recreation as well as everyday transportation,” adds Charlie Hight, Ward 4 Alderman and co-chair of the Bicycle Friendly Community Committee.
The 3-foot passing campaign is being communicated via billboards, yard signs, and bumper stickers on police cars and City vehicles. The billboard campaign will run in locations across North Little Rock from January 14-March 10, 2013.
Sounds like a great campaign!
Here are some of the images being used for the campaign:
Can This Campaign Be Replicated in Kansas?
Kansas passed a very similar 3-Foot Passing Law in 2011, but the state has done almost nothing to promote the law or to educate the public.
Harvey County, Kansas recently erected road signs to inform motorists about the 3-foot passing law (and they’re awesome!), but wouldn’t it be great if more Kansas communities took the hint? I’m sure North Little Rock would be happy to share their experiences with Kansas communities.
Why are we waiting for more cyclists to be endangered, injured, or killed due to unsafe passes, before being proactive about educating the public, and enforcing the law?
If you know someone in your local government, pass them a link to this story, and suggest that they consider implementing a similar campaign to educate both motorists and bicyclists about this critical safety law.
Inspire them to do good.