In some states these bills have passed quite easily, in others they have been vehemently opposed.
Quite honestly I fail to see what the problem is. I doubt most drivers would pass an eighteen wheeler at less than 3 feet clearance; most would come to a complete stop and give a stray dog more room than 3 feet.
So why the big deal in asking the same for a cyclist? In Virginia a bill was recently shot down,
An opponent of the bill, Republican Delegate John Cosgrove, argued that the measure would force motorists into the oncoming lane and make the roads less safe for drivers.
No dumb-ass, it means waiting behind the cyclist until traffic in the opposing lane has passed, then pass when it is safe to do so. At least behind the cyclist the driver is still moving; albeit temporarily at a slower pace.
During any trip by car; count how many times we have to wait behind a vehicle turning left. We don’t sit there a blow our horn impatiently; we wait as long as it takes for a break in opposing traffic so the vehicle ahead can turn and we go on our way. It is all part of our daily driving experience; we expect delays.
Texas recently passed a 3 foot law; however, the governor vetoed it, saying that motorists are already subject to “Reckless and Careless Driving Laws.”
However, this doesn’t seem to work too well in Texas. When a couple on a tandem were hit from behind and both killed last year, no charges were filed against the driver of a pickup truck that hit them.
Opponents of these laws argue that they are unenforceable and point out that police officers can’t get out there with tape measures. These laws are a guideline; when a motor vehicle hits a cyclist, obviously the driver didn’t give the cyclist 3 feet.
There was an exact case like this in Arizona recently (AZ has such a 3 feet law.) where the driver of a garbage truck, struck and killed a female cyclist.
What about other vulnerable people on the road, a pedestrian, or a motorist changing a tire. Common sense and common decency says a driver should slow down, stop if necessary, and then give them as much room as possible in passing.
But of course, if common sense and common decency prevailed, we wouldn’t need 3 foot passing laws.