On April 1st of this year, a new law went into effect for the state of Massachusetts requiring motorists to pass a vulnerable road user at a “safe passing distance” of at least 4 feet.

Dartmouth Police Department is reminding the SouthCoast of the New Vulnerable Road Users Laws and it was met with some feedback from the area.

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Who Are Vulnerable Road Users?

According to the official law, as posted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, vulnerable road users are people walking and biking, roadside workers, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices, people using scooters, skateboards, or roller skates, people on horses or in a horse-drawn carriage, and people operating farm equipment on the roadway.

The law states that when a driver passes a vulnerable road user or other vehicles, the driver can use all or part of an adjacent lane if necessary and when it is safe to do so.

“To meet the largest group of vulnerable road users operating on the roadway, signs defining the required 4-foot safe passing distance will be posted along roadways that do not have designated bike lanes or separated bike paths,” said MassDOT.

Keeping Roads Safe in Massachusetts

Dartmouth PD shared the reminder over the weekend and it was met with both positivity and skepticism.

While one online user couldn’t believe that giving a cyclist or vulnerable road user space isn’t common sense, another took a different take.

“They take up half a lane as it is, now we have to go completely into the other lane?” they asked. “Why don’t we just outlaw cars altogether?”

Either way, keeping vulnerable road users safe is officially in the rulebook, and Dartmouth PD, along with MassDOT, encourages motorists to share the road as best as possible.

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