5-foot law a good step for safety, says cyclist

Published: Mar. 18, 2015 at 10:08 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2015 at 10:08 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - If Alabama senators get their way, drivers will need to be far more cautious of cyclists on the road.

The state senate approved a bill Tuesday to require motorists leave at least five feet of space when passing a bicycle.

The proposal now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

Cyclists here in North Alabama are hopeful they will give it the green light..

Huntsville cyclist Tim Cole was hit by a driver six months ago while riding on Bailey Cove Road. The hit-and-run accident left him with a broken back. Police never found the driver responsible.

"I still have aches and pains today," said Cole.

With more people taking up the hobby, Cole says its important now more than ever for lawmakers to do something about it. He says the 5-foot passing law is a good start.

"Safety should be the number one concern for all of us," said Cole. "The better the distance between the cyclist and the car, the safer everybody will be."

Huntsville police say any law that improves safety is a good thing. But Lieutenant Darryl Lawson says depending on the officers viewpoint, it would be hard to determine the 5-foot distance.

Cole says no matter what, the law would raise awareness about sharing the road.

"I understand people's frustration," said Cole. "We all live very busy lives. We are all distracted. There are lot of things going on and sometimes a motorist may feel like a cyclist is in their way and slowing them down."

Still, Cole says that extra few seconds taken to slow down and the extra 5-feet between cyclist and driver could just save a life.

"That one person that would be saved could be your son, your daughter, your cousin, your friend or your spouse," said Cole. "And if it even just saves one life, it is worth it."

The City of Huntsville is making an effort to help improve safety for cyclists as well. The majority of new road projects in the city will include wide bike paths and pedestrian walkways.

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