Safe passing is now Vermont law

As of July 1, drivers are required to provide 4' of clearance when passing a vulnerable user.

Vulnerable users are just about everyone not operating a motor vehicle: people walking, biking, and rolling; road workers, and equestrians. Local Motion advocated for this protection during the past legislative session, and it was passed in in S.309MUTCD Sign R4-19

This law is intended to ensure that all Vermonters are safe on our streets and roads. The passage of this law enables the use of 4' passing distance signs (MUTCD sign R4-19), and it presents an excellent opportunity to educate the public about safe driving around vulnerable users.

If you want your town to install these signs, we recommend that you reach out to your town manager, selectboard/city council, and highway or public works department.

We are now working to educate the public on Vermont's safe passing requirement, and we're asking for your help!

Here's some wording and imagery that you can share on your local Front Porch Forum and other social media:

As of July 1, drivers are required to provide 4' of clearance when passing a vulnerable user. Vulnerable users are just about everyone not operating a motor vehicle: people walking, biking, and rolling; road workers, and equestrians.

A driver passing a vulnerable user must exercise due care, which includes reducing speed and increasing clearance to a distance of at least four feet. If a driver cannot pass with clearance of at least four feet, then they must wait to pass (23 V.S.A. § 1033).

Drivers can cross the center of the highway as necessary to make a pass when the left side of the roadway is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic, including other vulnerable users. Drivers should not pass when approaching or on a crest or curve, or when approaching or at an intersection or railroad crossing, or when the view is obstructed upon approaching a bridge or tunnel (23 V.S.A. § 1035). 

As a reminder, people on bikes are required to ride as close to the right side of the road as is safe, but can ride to the left when: turning, approaching an intersection with a right turn lane, passing another vulnerable user, or if required to avoid hazards or road conditions, such as objects in the road or dangerous roadway geometry (23 V.S.A. § 1035). For example, people biking may (and usually should) ride in the center or left side of the lane in order to avoid the "door zone" along a row of parked cars, where they would be susceptible to the hazard of doors opening in their path of travel.