3ft Safe Passing - Respect

Making 3’ Safe Passing a Reality
in New York State

What is 3’ Safe Passing?

The 3’ Safe Passing Law establishes that a motorist must give bicyclists three feet of space between the bicycle and a vehicle when overtaking a bicyclist on the road. This is the standard in 27 states, and NYBC is working to enact this law in New York as well.

3’ Safe Passing laws provide a clear definition of what a “safe distance” is for motorists when overtaking bicyclists on the road and provide a mechanism for enforcement by police. 

In our annual statewide surveys, a 3-foot Safe Passing law is consistently the issue that leads the peloton for NYBC members. More than thirty states have now made 3' or better "the standard" and this law simply defines for cyclists, drivers, and law enforcement what is expected to achieve a safe shared road system.


Unfortunately, New York State is now in the minority when it comes to the 3-foot standard, and the lack of a Safe Passing law is one of many factors keeping our state's League of American Bicycling Bike Friendly ranking only a middling number 23 out of the fifty states.


So what’s the problem? There isn’t one in the State Senate, where bill number  sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara of Elmira would easily pass. The current roadblock lies in the Assembly Transportation Committee, where chairman David F. Gantt of Rochester will not allow the 3-foot Safe Passing Bill carried by Assemblyman Phil Steck of Albany out of the committee to be voted on by the full assembly. If a vote were to happen in the Assembly, we are certain it would pass and become law.


It is not a question of if, but when 3-foot Safe Passing comes to New York, and NYBC's Legislative Committee, led by Board President Leah Golby, will continue working this fall to update our efforts to bring this important bill to a vote to improve safety for all New York State cyclists.


How to make 3’ Safe Passing a reality in NYS

  • Write to Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli, Chair of the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee, requesting that he allow a vote on the bill during the upcoming legislative session, along with Assemblyman Phil Steck and Sen. Tom O’Mara, who sponsored the bill in past sessions, to encourage them to co-sponsor the bill again this year.
  • Plan a 3’ Safe Passing ride.
  • Contact your local state representatives. Reach out to your senator or assemblymember by email, postal mail, or social media to express your support for the 3’ Safe Passing Bill. Find your local state representatives.
  • Be part of our network! Individuals and organizations who are interested in bicycle/pedestrian issues, environmental sustainability, disability rights, safety, seniors, and others all have a stake in helping to pass this legislation! Help us grow our network by encouraging your local groups to sign on to this effort.
  • Sign the petition. Your voice matters! Show that you care by signing the petition here.
  • Every bit counts. Please make a targeted donation to the NYBC 3’ Safe Passing campaign.

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More about 3’ Safe Passing Advocacy Efforts

NYBC continues to rally its members and partners in support of 3’ Safe Passing. To join the effort, please sign the petition and sign up for our monthly E-newsletters.