House Bill 33 took effect July 14, requiring drivers in Kentucky to pass to the left of a bicycle at a distance of no less than 3 feet between any portion of the vehicle and the bicycle and maintain that distance until safely past the cyclist. This distance is measured from the outermost portion of the vehicle to the outermost portion of the bicycle. If this distance is not available, “reasonable caution” must be used when passing cyclists.
In 2010, Owensboro installed its first “Share the Road” bike route along a portion of Daviess Street that connects the Greenbelt to downtown. Typically, bike routes are installed where roadways are not wide enough to accommodate dedicated bike lanes or where communities are not willing to give up on street parking spaces to accommodate bicycles. If signed properly to notify motorists, bike routes enable on-street parking to remain, while providing safe routes for cyclists.
Cycling has grown in popularity in Owensboro in recent years with several community rides posted on social media weekly. Routinely, cyclists check Strava, a running and cycling app, to find routes or groups to join.
Matt Mason, an avid road cyclist says, “The new law is a great way to educate the state and community. As a cyclist, I have had some close encounters with vehicles and feel that the 3-foot passing allowance is bringing awareness that can benefit all.”