“Three feet is a guideline”

That’s what Sgt. Markus Smith, head of the Louisiana Sheriff’s association, says of the new law requiring motorists to give cyclists three feet of clearance. Even worse is his example of what would violate the “guideline”:

“The law is ultimately for the safety of a bicyclist. If somebody is passing dangerously close, almost brushing the elbow of the rider, yes, he will be stopped.”

Nice. Apparently “give the rider at least three feet” means “just don’t knock them into the ditch.” Sorry, but three feet is three feet. When the issue is speeding, Sgt. Smith says it’s “cut and dry. Either they are or they aren’t.” Ditto three feet. Either the driver left three feet between him and the bike or he didn’t.

I appreciate that it might be tough to judge whether a car was within three feet. But whatever the cops use to gauge the distance, it has to be something other than contact. Otherwise, why have the three feet law at all?

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