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  • In order to safely (and legally) pass a cyclist, a Ford F150 truck MUST cross the centerline

    Over the past week, several of us cycled some of the best spots in Colorado. For the most part, motorists were generous, passing us with well over 3-feet of clearance. It wasn’t until the last day, about 2 miles east of Georgetown, that a Ford F150 black pick-up truck passed us too close. I’m pretty sure the person intentionally buzzed us while we rode along the frontage road. This particular road has a limited shoulder, probably around 12 inches.

    Ron Kennedy happened to be running video of the incident and the fisheye lens on his camera seemed to make it appear that the truck wasn’t that close. That made me do some math.

    First, the background data:

    1. A 2017 Ford F150 width is 96.8 inches (round off to 97), including mirrors.
    2. The width of a cyclist is some 24 to 30 (or more) inches.
    3. A road with no shoulder will have the cyclist riding in the lane of traffic at least 12 inches for safety – with ½ of the cyclist extending to the left of the centerline of the bike.
    4. In order for a cyclist to be fully within the shoulder, the shoulder needs to be some 3 feet wide. (See #2).
    5. In Colorado, motorists MUST give us AT LEAST 3 feet of clearance when passing.
    6. Typical road lane widths vary. For the majority of roads we ride in Colorado, the lane width (not including shoulder) is between 9 and 12 feet (108”- 144”)

    Now the math:

    1. If a rider is on the white line due to shoulder conditions, or lack thereof, half of that person’s body extends into the lane. Let’s assume ½ of our cyclist is extending into the lane 20 inches. (Take a yardstick and place it at your sternum to understand what 20 inches means.)
    2. The truck driver must give us 3 feet or 36 inches.
    3. The total width of cyclist and passing width is 20 + 36 or 56 inches. Let’s call this space our Legal Right.
    4. Our Legal Right plus the width of an F150 is 56 + 97, or 153 inches.
    5. This means in order to safely get past a cyclist, an F150 MUST cross the centerline of the road some 9 to 45 inches (remember, the lane is only 108" - 144" wide.)

    The message that should go to all owners of big vehicles, not just the F150s, is that in order to safely pass a cyclist in Colorado, you MUST cross the centerline of the road at least 9 inches and as much as 45 inches (3.75 feet) in any location where there is no shoulder on the road, there is a small shoulder less than one-foot wide or the shoulder of the road is filled with debris. I’m not picking on big vehicle owners, I own a big vehicle. It’s just simple math, you cannot safely pass a cyclist and stay in your lane.

    The truck owner that passed us so close on Saturday was either a butt-head (put in your own word) or s/he was terrified of crossing the centerline that was a double-yellow line. (Yes, it is legal to cross a double-yellow line in order to safely pass a cyclist – as long as certain conditions are met.)

     

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  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • Hoho says...

      How about cyclists stay off small narrow roads??? Doesn’t that make more sense rather than putting more people’s lives at jeopardy?

      On July 03, 2017

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