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‘Give ’em 3 Feet’ campaign promotes bike safety

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cyclists across the state hope for a safer experience on roads as part of National Bike Month.

West Virginia Connecting Communities launched the “Give em’ 3 Feet” campaign Monday, centered around last year’s passage of the Bicycle Safety Law (HB 4304) that requires motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of passing distance on the road.

In June 2014 West Virginia became the 24th state to enact the 3-feet law—while Pennsylvania requires 4 feet of clearance. Since then, the WVCC has been working to inform drivers with how to approach and pass cyclists.

WVCC president Dennis Strawn said he knows several people who don’t want to ride their bikes due to the fear of getting hit by a car.

“It’s not normal for them, but it could be if we just devote a little bit of attention to it,” Strawn said, “We just want to get the word out there that it’s normal to get on your bike and ride.”

Nate Orders lives in Charleston and rides his bike on state Route 60 twice a week to his job in Saint Albans. He said he has been hit by cars three times.

“It’s a little bit scary being on a bike out on the roads with these giant metal cars zipping past you,” said Orders.

The campaign, he said, could have a great impact on his life and others.

“Most people think I ride to work to stay in shape and that’s a happy side effect, but that’s not why I do it,” Orders said, ” It’s so much fun to get out on a bike and feel like I’ve accomplished something when I get to the office at 7 o’clock and I’ve already ridden 13 miles.”

Throughout May, WVCC will stage activities encouraging more people to get out on their bikes. Bike to Work Day, scheduled for May 15 at 7 a.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, is an initiative to promote cycling for work commuters. Cities nationwide will also be participating in this event as well as other National Bike Month activities.

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