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New law set to increase bicycle safety in Mississippi

August 29, 2010

Kathy Jacobs and Robert McMillen riding bikes as part of a Starkville In Motion event.

For the Daily News

More people are taking to the streets, on their bicycles, that is. Bicycling is a fun and healthy way to get around town and many Starkvillians are taking to the road on two wheels instead of four.
A new state law has set a minimum space requirement for cars passing bicyclists on the road, making the road safer. Motorists must leave at least three feet between their car and a cyclist when passing.
The law also states that cars may not make a right turn in front of a cyclist traveling in the same direction unless the turn can be made safely. Turning in front of a bicyclist may cause an accident as motorists often underestimate how fast some cyclists are travelling.
“Mississippi now stands out as a leader in the cycling world. We are one of the few states in the nation to adopt a 3 Feet Law, which clearly defines the relationship between motorists and cyclists,” said Josh Sullivan, president of Jackson Metro Cyclists and supporter of the legislation.
This new law went into effect on July 1st and was named after John Paul Frerer, a young man from North Mississippi who was struck and killed by a vehicle while cycling. Those who worked to get the legislation passed hope that Mississippi roads will be safer for cyclists and motorists alike.
“We’re pleased that this law recognizes that bicycles belong on the road and share the same responsibilities as cars. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and this law helps make Mississippi roads that much safer,” said Devon Brenner, president of Starkville in Motion.
Guidelines for bicyclists are also included. Bicyclists must ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of a road, except when passing, turning, or avoiding road hazards. No more than two bicyclists may ride side-by-side on a road, unless the road is exclusively for bike use.
To read the full version of the law, visit http://www.starkvilleinmotion.org

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