Effects of Safe Bicycle Passing Laws on Drivers’ Behavior and Bicyclists’ Safety

In recent years, states and municipalities have passed laws for passing distance as an attempt to increase the distance between drivers and bicycles. Since Wisconsin became the first state to enact such a law in 1973, 27 states have a three-foot safe passing laws. However, bicycle advocates have recently pointed out the inadequacy of a three-foot passing distance. Michigan does not have a state passing law, but several cities have passed ordinances requiring motorists to pass bicycles at a safe minimum distance. The city of Grand Rapids was the first city to pass such an ordinance in September of 2015 which specifies a minimum passing distance of five feet. The cities of Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and Portage subsequently passed five-foot passing ordinances. To date, there is no data on the efficacy of a five-foot bicycle passing law and only limited evidence on the efficacy of a three-foot bicycle passing law. This study aims at investigating effects of five-foot bicycle passing laws associated with bicycle infrastructure, cultural differences, and community education and outreach.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $79933
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT13-G-UTC60 TRC 17-05

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities

    Western Michigan University
    Kalamazoo, MI  United States  49009-5316
  • Project Managers:

    Dunn, Denise

  • Performing Organizations:

    Western Michigan University

    1903 W. Michigan Avenue
    Kalamazoo, MI  United States  49008-5241
  • Principal Investigators:

    Van Houten, Ron

    Oh, Jun-Seok

    Kwigizile, Valerian

  • Start Date: 20170815
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180831
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180831
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • Subprogram: Research

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01646252
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC60 TRC 17-05
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2017 11:52AM