The great lawyer Clarence Darrow once said, "Freedom comes from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions." Will bicyclists ever be free to ride alongside motor vehicles in safety? Probably not. Will Louisiana's new three foot law for bicyclists change the attitude among some drivers toward bicylists using the same roads? Probably not.
The new Louisiana law, very similar to Wisconsin's three foot law, is intended to "save lives." It requires motor vehicles to leave a "safe distance" of at least three feet when passing a bicycle on the road and to maintain the distance until the vehicle passes the bicyclist. The law was passed in response to a Louisiana bicyclist hit from behind and killed.
Three foot laws and fines for drivers who violate them are better than nothing. However, road rage drivers and those who do not care about other human beings will not be stopped by a fine or even prison after they kill someone.
How do we make it safe for bicyclists and cars to co-exist? As Dr. Suess said, "Sometimes the questions are complicated but the answers are easy." Be careful and take care of each other.