Air Force Instruction 91-207 covers installation pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and House Bill 154 requires motorists to pass bicyclists on the road with no less than a 3-foot cushion. (Metro News Service photo)

It’s the law: Bikes on base get at least 3 feet

88th Air Base Wing Safety and Security officials are reminding motorists of the need to observe at least a 3-foot cushion when passing bicyclists on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for a very good reason: It is the law.

Ohio legislators passed in December 2016 House Bill 154, which requires motorists to pass bicyclists on the road with no less than a 3-foot cushion, effective March 21, 2017.

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The safe-passage law also provides that any vehicle – bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks alike – can proceed through an intersection after coming to a full stop and yielding right-of-way, in the event that a detector in the pavement does not trigger the traffic signal from red to green.

Marty Curtis of the 88 ABW Safety Office, has not only a professional interest in cyclist safety but a personal one as well. So far he has logged more than 4,300 miles riding his bike this year.

He points to the marked safety lanes on some of Wright-Patterson AFB’s main roadways.

“It’s nice to have a bike lane because it keeps cyclists out of the path of vehicles,” he said. “That’s a safety feature, and it should be used.”

Cyclists are lawfully permitted to ride two abreast, but most don’t in high-traffic density or during peak traffic periods so they don’t inconvenience and upset motorists. That’s the philosophy many people who are members of the Dayton Cycling Club and other clubs follow, Curtis said.

“When you hear a call of ‘car back,’ most cyclists will revert to single file,” he said. “I stay as far right as I can.”

Air Force Instruction 91-207 covers installation pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and Curtis encourages everyone to familiarize themselves with it.

Motor vehicle operators need to give full attention to their driving and avoid distractions like cell phones, Curtis said.

“Even on this base, the greatest danger cyclists face is people on their phones. It is DoD policy – you are not permitted to be on your cell phone. Don’t text and drive,” he said.

Curtis urges bicyclists to be safety conscious and vigilant, too.

“Bicyclists need to give motor vehicles as much room as possible. That’s my personal opinion. They’re larger and they have a larger impact.

“Riders also need to have a rear light, and one that flashes is best. It gets driver attention,” he advised.

Curtis said he wants to urge people to ride their bikes for their health and sense of well-being, and encourages future riders to check out cycling clubs for safety instruction and group fun.

“There are all kinds of rides for different riders and different ability levels,” Curtis said.