Kansas law requires that motorists allow at least three feet when passing bicycles.

Kansas Statues Annotated. 8-1516 (c) (1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a distance of not less than three feet and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

On July 1, 2011, some Kansas motorists became criminals without even realizing it. That's when the three foot law for passing bicylists became effective. The guy in the pick up truck who passed me tonight as I headed back into Pratt a couple of miles south of town must not have studied his Kansas statutes. He passed my bicycle and I so closely that I felt the exhaust off of his tailpipe. No vehicle even approached from the opposite side of the highway.

It makes you wonder what’s going through the head of someone who drives this way. Perhaps such careless drivers are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Perhaps the driver honestly didn’t see me-dusk was approaching--even though I had a flashing red light on the back of my helmet and an even brighter flashing red light attached to my bicycle.

In any case, the pick up truck driver broke the law.                       

For a cyclist, a buzz by a motorist is the equivalent of a gun being shot, for instance, by another hunter so closely that you can hear the bullet whizz by.

At the time of tonight’s incident, I was pedaling my bicycle along the shoulder of the Highway 281. After the drive by buzzing, I moved into the roadway to make myself more visible. I also swerved the bicycle back and forth for increased visibility as traffic approached behind me.

I’m not sure how this law will be enforced, as, by the time a vehicle buzzes by a bicycle at 65 mph, there is no way for the cyclist to read the license plate and call law enforcement. Subsequently, I’m pleading with all of the law-abiding motorists out there who witness a cyclist being buzzed by a motorist.

Write down the license plate number and call law enforcement on your cell phone. The next cyclist may not be so lucky or have such good bicycle-handling skills when a motor vehicle does not give him or her the three feet allowed by Kansas law.

Let’s make Kansas a safer place for all and share the road.