History of 3 ft Passing Law Efforts 2016-17


3 feet when passing

This morning, the Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee in the NYS Legislature placed a “hold” on A2845, the 3′ Safe Passing Legislation sponsored for the second straight year by Assem. Phil Steck. It’s complicated, and we’ll be following up soon with a longer message, but a hold prevents the bill, no matter how much support it has, from being voted on by Committee Members so it can get out and in to the full Chamber for a vote. An identical “same as” 3′ Safe Passing bill (S1996), sponsored also for the second year by New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, had already been approved. This is really a tragic development but of course NYBC and our supporters – including the nearly 2500 folks who have so far signed the 3′ Safe Passing petition on the Transportation Alternatives website – https://goo.gl/TgsKTD – will be back for a third year next session. As will our heroic sponsors, Phil Steck and Tom O’Mara, to whom we are very grateful. Stay tuned and don’t lose hope – 27 states now have defined Safe Passing and together we will make it happen in our great state as well!


Thanks to the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club for leading the 3′ Safe Passing Ride around the State Capitol this past Friday.   We took three loops, one for each foot of safety we are seeking (thanks to MHCC President David Liebshutz for that great touch) and included a walking loop, with our 3′ jerseys sticking out like beacons, through the Farmer’s Market on the Empire State Plaza.

In another important development, today we learned that the 3′ Safe Passing bill has achieved “Same As” status – meaning there are now identical bills in both Chambers of the NYS Legislature.  Thanks again to Assembly Member Phil Steck and State Senator Tom O’Mara for their strong leadership on this important pubic safety issue.   The bill numbers are A2845 (Steck) and S1995A (O’Mara).

Stay tuned for a press conference where we will  present leadership in the Assembly with the nearly 2500 names from our statewide petition.  If you have not added your name please go to this link RIGHT NOW and join the 3′ Safe Passing paceline!  



As part of Bike to Work day, which is Friday, May 19th, we are planning a 3 foot ride around the Capital in support of the passage of additional language into the Safe Passing Law that is currently on the books. Please plan on riding your bike to work and joining us for this noon time ride. The more people that support the bill, the more attention the ride will get. The info is here!


Our Board Member Emeritus Ivan Vamos discusses the 3 foot question in this thoughtful white paper that was distributed to the working group that is updating the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). NYBC was the only non government organization to be invited to this work group, demonstrating that, once again, our thoughtful analysis and input is widely sought in New York State. Read here…


This is year two of this important campaign, which has attracted and continues to attract more attention from our constituency than any other campaign in recent years!   Keep those emails, letters, phone calls, tweets and posts coming in, following the guidance on this page.   We have the same sponsors (A82845 (Steck in Assembly), S1995A (O’Mara in Senate)in each house and a lot of POSITIVE movement on this issue in 2017:

  • A new campaign page on the Transportation Alternative website – please add your name! so we can reach our goal of 5,000, at which point we will have a major media event in the State Capitol.

Update: Victory is in sight!

We gave it our all and got close to successfully improving laws and safety for citizens and visitors who bike in New York – but once again, the NYS legislature has closed shop in Albany and gone home for the summer failing to do the right thing for bicyclists. We are not deterred! We got so close and we know with the additional supporters who stepped forward that we will succeed in the next legislative session. Planning and preparing for this victory starts today, with you and all of us working together.  Please show your support of New York Bicycle Coalition today as we start preparing to win in the next legislative session.

To review, New York Bicycle Coalition (NYBC) did energize and mobilize thousands of New Yorkers to advocate on our two major legislative campaigns: a 3 Feet Safe Passing law and legalizing Electric Bikes to expand opportunities to ride for thousands more New Yorkers. Our efforts created a 21st century state-wide electronic civilian army of active transportation supporters who emailed, phoned, tweeted, posted, retweeted and re-posted in the tens of thousands! Many Legislators commented that they had never seen such a robust cycling advocacy campaign and that we are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Our efforts resulted in the New York Senate approving the 3’ passing law amendment.  The New York Senate also passed a one class electric bike bill.

However, the New York State Assembly failed to pass these two bills.  We are angry and determined more than ever to right this wrong!  Legislators know that we will be back!, bigger and better than ever for the next Legislative session.  We will be back because we are in the right and it is not a matter of whether we will move our state’s elected officials to support these inexpensive and common sense laws – it’s a matter of when! With your support today, we will make certain it is sooner and not later!

Campaigns like a 3 Feet Safe Passing, Electric Bikes, Amtrak Bikes on Board, and others, both legislative and infrastructure related, require financial support from bicyclists like you!    That is YOU and you know who you are.   There is no foundation or corporate grants for advocacy – just bicyclists like you who know how important safety and health are to our state.