Share the Road: 3 feet is the rule (not the law)

For many, passing a cyclist on the road can be a stress-inducing moment, with some drivers seemingly unsure of when they should pass (particularly around curves in the road), and how much distance they should leave between their car and the cyclist.

So let’s clear it up . . .

The minimum distance you should leave between your car and the cyclist is three feet (but more would be better). Often this will require (and is legal for) a driver to move over the middle of the road, which is why it is so important drivers take the time to ensure there isn’t oncoming traffic which would force them back into their lane, threatening the rider’s safety.

But what does three feet look like? According to San Antonio Bikes, three feet is approximately the space required to hold three fashionable cowboy hats (with room to spare).

Given that it’s rare to find hats floating between cyclists and riders, we prefer this photo of what 1.5m (or 4 feet) looks like from the perspective of a rider, as captured by Julie Ann Genter.

As always, the best way to pass a cyclist is to take your time and ensure the road ahead is clear before making your move.

For those looking to remind riders of the 3 foot rule, there are bike jerseys like those from Voler and

Pass along this tip – together we can ride, and drive, safely!