Pennsylvania 4 foot law bags one!

Pennsylvania’s 4 foot bicycle passing law went into effect on Monday this week. The law claimed it’s first hapless victim on Monday afternoon, when a 17 year old driver was ticketed for failing to pass with four feet after he rear ended a cyclist on the Fahy Bridge in Bethlehem, PA.

The bike was mangled in the collision and cyclist Frank Pavlick was bruised and scraped. Pavlick runs the Coalition for Appropriate Transportation’s Bethlehem Bicycle Cooperative. Bicycle advocates in Bethlehem have petitioned for “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs on the narrow lanes of the bridge since cyclist Patrick Ytsma was struck and killed last December.

The driver (who is not named in this news report) tried to leave the scene of his crime and was charged with the attempting to flee. A bus driver saw the crash and maneuvered his bus to stop the driver from leaving, while another car driver parked his car behind the criminal scofflaw to prevent him from backing out.

The speed limit on the Fahy Bridge is 35 MPH. The driver was apparently swerving through traffic when he hit Pavlick.

Read more in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call: Driver cited under new bicycle law after striking cyclist on Fahy Bridge.


  1. Howdy, Richard–
    I’d say he would have gotten a ticket anyway. I’ll be more impressed when I read that a cop tickets someone for only allowing a cyclist three and a half feet, but I’m not holding my breath.Happy Trails,

  2. wow, that’s almost creepy.  Not sure which way Karma is flowing on that one.

    Safe travels!

  3. It seems the 4-foot violation was the least of his errors.

    I’ll be more impressed when somebody gets cited for a too-close pass WITHOUT a collision.

  4. This is only the second instance I’ve read of a driver being charged with a 3-foot violation.  I’d like to hear about more – if anyone knows of another one – because I’m still convinced these laws are only ‘feel good’ measures.

  5. Update on this: Police release surveillance video of the crash and subsequent action by bus driver to stop the fleeing criminal –>

  6. By my count the driver violated at least 4 code sections: 3303 – the 4ft rule,  3304 – illegally attempting to pass a vehicle on the right w/o ascertaining that the lane on the right was unobstructed and not performing the pass safely. 3309 – changing lanes without ascertaining that it could be done safely and 3361 – driving vehicle at unsafe speed. 

  7. Arizona has had a 3-foot law for about 10 years (28-735). Police routinely ticket motorists who strike bicyclists from behind with that violation. There are next-to-no instances of the violation being cited outside of the context of a collision (maybe that was your point?). In this really long but really intersting imbroglio Flagstaff, AZ police first failed to even acknowledge the law, then after a long time the city prosecutor requested the PD issue citations, then (quietly) the prosecutor motioned to dismiss the charges.

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