Urban Velo

First PA Driver Cited Under New 4 Foot Passing Law

Just hours after the new four foot passing law took effect in PA the above “accident” happened as a juvenile driver struck a cyclist from behind in the middle of the day, and then attempted to flee the scene. A local public transit driver blocked in the offender after witnessing it in their mirror, and the Bethlehem police just happened to be crossing the bridge moments later.

From the Bethlehem Police Blog:

The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways. The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash. The section is, in pertinent part:

§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(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.

In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
§ 3742(a) – Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
§ 3334(a) – Turning Movements and Required Signals

Read more at bethlehempolice.blogspot.com.


  1. Ryan T.April 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

    And who says the buses aren’t on our side? That kid would have gotten away if it hadn’t been for the awareness of that bus driver.

  2. zachApril 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

    No charge for fleeing the scene of an accident?

  3. NickApril 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

    That bus driver deserves an award.

  4. KibbeeApril 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Good job by the bus stopping that car. But really, I wouldn’t have been biking over that bridge on my bike. Sure we’re allowed full use of the lane, but you have to use your own discretion. He’s lucky he wasn’t killed.

  5. Joe PeraltaApril 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Just take the lane and keep your lawyer’s number on speed dial.

  6. J.MillerApril 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I agree with Kibbee and using common sense.You see those walk ways dividing the road from the people,cyclist can use them to.I live Harrisburg and it just makes more sense and help with the flow of traffic to do so.Plus it is also a safety issue.

  7. Erik StonehamApril 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    F-ing awesome. I am moving to Pittsburgh PA aka Bethlehem area. SWEET new law!

  8. J.MillerApril 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Well Erik sorry to inform you,but Bethlehem is on the other side of the state.First law the law includes the whole state.Secondly if you are serious,Pittsburgh is a kick-a** city to live. :)

  9. Marty BApril 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Kibbee & J.Miller,

    It is usually prohibited to ride on a sidewalk. Where there are pedestrians, it’s prohibitive to commuters’ schedules even where it’s not prohibited. It is always legal to ride on the roadway.

    This cyclist did nothing wrong. In fact he was acting in the best interest of cyclists’ rights and public policy by using that bridge. I live in CA, and I’ve ridden across that bridge, as well as in several other states and countries. Bethlehem, PA is one of the places I’ve felt the most hostility from motorists. Growth often takes growing pains. Incidents like these create impetus for progress. To badmouth this cyclist is to arm anti-cycling sentiment. I praise his conduct, and I hope this encourages us all to become more ambitious bicycle advocates.

  10. thomApril 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    What do you think the odds are that this driver was texting? I witnessed 2 accidents this week with a teen at the wheel hitting another vehicle from behind. I was a teen once and know how bulletproof you feel behind the wheel. I’m lucky to have survived my younger days without the distraction of a phone let alone with it.

  11. J.MillerApril 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Marty i was not bad mouthing this cyclist.I didn’t say he did anything wrong.In Harrisburg we have a bike painted on the left and a pedestrian on the right of each path.I cant speak for Bethlehem,PA never been there.But will always take my safety into consideration first,no matter what the law might be.I dont worry about my abilities as a rider,but the stupidity of drivers.It is the same as riding a motorcycle.Always assume your invisible.Because people will not look out for you or not respect you because you’re on a bike.Just because you can do something,does not mean it is always in your best interest.I would have to think the worst “anti-cycling sentiment” has to be these elitist Critical Mass idiots.They do more to damage and bring animosity to riders than anything I’ve said.The Northern Europeans have it right.It is just a part of everyday life.They dont even give it a second thought about riding a bike everywhere. Check it out this is one of my favorite blogs.


  12. TuckerApril 9, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Mad props to the other vehicles for boxing that guy in. It’s good to see drivers and cyclists working together.

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