BikeWalk NC has adopted a position on the subject of reducing unsafe behavior by motorists passing cyclists and related legislation.
Summary: There is concern that motor vehicle drivers often fail to stay at adequate safe distance when passing bicyclists, especially when traveling at high speeds. In response, some states have changed passing laws to require greater passing distance, but such laws are seldom enforced, and police often express skepticism about the legality of crossing a solid yellow line to pass bicyclists on narrow roads. Furthermore, experiences in other states indicate that legislative efforts to place greater constraints on motorists’ passing maneuvers bring the risk of adding onerous new legal constraints on where bicyclists may ride. NC currently has some of the best bicycling laws in the country in terms of allowing bicyclists full and equal rights to the use of travel lanes.
BikeWalk NC recommends that the passing law be modified to explicitly allow crossing a solid yellow centerline to pass a vehicle traveling at less than half the posted speed limit when all other legal conditions for safe passing are met, and that this legal change be accompanied by an education campaign about safe passing.
Read the full position paper and supporting materials here.