Rhode Island General Laws Title 31. Motor and Other Vehicles § 31-15-18. Unsafe passing of a person operating a bicycle;  penalty

(a) A driver of a motor vehicle commits the offense of unsafe passing of a person operating a bicycle if the driver violates any of the following requirements:

(1) The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance and returning to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.  For the purposes of this subdivision, a “safe distance” means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver's lane of traffic.  This subdivision does not apply to a driver operating a motor vehicle:

(i) In a lane that is separate from and adjacent to a designated bicycle lane;

(ii) At a speed not greater than fifteen miles per hour (15 mph);  or

(iii) When the driver is passing a person operating a bicycle on the person's right side and the person operating the bicycle is turning left.

(2) The driver of a motor vehicle may drive to the left of the center of a roadway to pass a person operating a bicycle proceeding in the same direction only if the roadway to the left of the center is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit the driver to pass the person operating the bicycle safely and avoid interference with oncoming traffic.  This subdivision does not authorize driving to the left of center of a roadway when prohibited under § 31-15-1 (failure to drive on right), § 31-15-3 (passing of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions) or § 31-15-13 (divided highway).

(b) The driver of a motor vehicle that passes a person operating a bicycle shall return to an authorized lane of traffic as soon as practicable.

(c) Violations of this section are subject to the fine enumerated in § 31-41.1-4 .

(d) This section may be cited as “Frank's Law.”


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