Lafayette considering three foot rule

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – As the weather gets warmer, police are on alert to make sure bicyclists and drivers act responsibly. In West Lafayette, that means officers will be making sure drivers leave at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist since an ordinance passed in June 2013 mandated it.

Since it went into effect nearly a year ago, officers are yet to hand out a ticket.

“The ordinance is somewhat difficult to enforce,” said Chris Leroux, West Lafayette Deputy Police Chief. “It requires an officer to actually observe it since it is an infraction. Then you have to be able to determine are they within that three-foot area or not.”

The lack of citations is not a concern to Lafayette officials who are looking to adopt an almost identical ordinance. The Lafayette City Council will hear the ordinance on its first reading at their Monday meeting.

Lafayette Economic Development project manager Margy Deverall says the ordinance makes the city more bicyclist friendly.

“Especially younger people riding bikes,” said Deverall. “That’s a goal to keep our young people here and not have the flight from the city.”

Leroux is not concerned about the lack of citations. He says the ordinance serves as an educational tool.

“It’s another tool in the officer’s belt that he can use if he gets himself in a situation where it is right to use it. And it’s a good stepping stone for education,” said LeRoux.

Monday’s meeting is at 7 p.m. at Lafayette City Hall.

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