For courteous drivers, the state's new law on passing bicyclists is no big deal. They've always given riders an appropriate amount of space.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are that polite, which is the reason that Pennsylvania lawmakers thought they had to put into writing a requirement that motorists leave a 4-foot "cushion of safety" when passing bicyclists. When oncoming traffic permits, motorists are permitted to cross the center line to provide space when passing bicyclists.
The law also specifies that drivers turning left also must yield to bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction and that bicyclists are to strive to avoid impeding the flow of traffic. Those should have been happening anyway.
Because of the differences in speed, conflicts will arise when bicyclists and drivers share the road. But those instances can be minimized if riders and drivers cooperate and respect each other.
Warmer weather and higher gasoline prices likely will mean more bicyclists will be out. And both they and drivers have the right to use roads - unless otherwise marked.
A little courtesy and a dose of common sense can avoid the problems addressed by the new law. Despite what some claim, it's not that big of a deal.