HB 170 The Four Foot Rule
The general assembly passed HB 170 and Governor Corbett signed it on February 3, 2012. Of special interest to bicyclists and motorists who share the road with bicyclists is the following provision:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed. (Bold and italics are mine.)
Common sense and courtesy have always dictated overtaking and passing any vehicle without coming too close. This law now codifies what "too close" means when overtaking a cyclist.
Bicyclists are always required to follow motor vehicle codes while riding the roads. But just as all motorists don't obey traffic laws, all cyclists do not obey traffic laws. However, a cyclist riding on the road in the travel lane is obeying the motor vehicle code. While a cyclist is supposed to ride as far to the right as is practicable, the law specifically acknowledges the right of a bicyclist to ride in the lane due to unsafe roadsurface conditions. Oftentimes a motorist traveling at highway speeds can't see the crumbling edge of the roadway or the loose gravel and other debris which make cycling to the far right unsafe. Motorists need to realize that the cyclist is in a better position to determine where in the cartway the cyclist needs to ride in order to avoid potholes, debris and missing pavement. The few seconds that you may be slowed to safely pass a cyclist will not significantly delay your overall journey in a motorized vehicle.
While the 4 foot rule won't be effective until April 4, it's never too early to start to practice. Centre Region cyclists will appreciate it.
As always, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or comments. We'll be happy to address your questions in future blog posts. For more cycling information, see the CRBC website at
Centre Region Cyclist