Please Don’t Squeeze
Page 26 the South Dakota Driver’s Manual states “Do not share a lane with a pedestrian or bicyclist. Wait until it is safe to pass in the adjoining lane.” In other words, drivers, “Please Don’t Squeeze” by when passing a person riding a bicycle. For a bicycle rider, being passed too close is frightening and unnecessarily puts the rider’s life at risk.
Falls Area Bicyclist’s (FAB) 2020-2021 education and advocacy campaign aims to spread the word about safe passing and the responsibilities of drivers and bicyclists while using the streets and roads around Sioux Falls. Not giving a person riding a bicycle enough room when passing is not only dangerous, it’s also against the law. South Dakota law mandates drivers must give at least 3 feet of space when passing at speeds under 35mph. When traveling at 35mph or higher, the law requires 6 feet of space between a vehicle and a bicyclist. (S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 32-26-26.1.)
FAB’s “Please Don’t Squeeze” campaign encourages safe interactions between drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. It is being funded through FAB membership dues and proceeds from the 2020 SF Trail Challenge event.
The City of Sioux Falls, along with the help of FAB members, has been working to place “Bikes May Use Full Lane” traffic signs around town. In Sioux Falls, bicyclists are allowed to use an entire lane when it is unsafe to be passed in the same lane. FAB wants drivers to be aware they may see bicyclists in the lane in Sioux Falls. They should treat a bicycle rider using the lane as they would any other slow moving vehicle. Reduce speed, and then change lanes to pass when it is safe.
When riding in the lane bicycle riders are expected to operate their bicycle as they would any other vehicle, by following all rules of the road.
Be Considerate Riding on the Sioux Falls Greenway
“Please Don’t Squeeze” extends to riding on the shared pathway encircling the city. While the greenway is often referred to as the ‘Bike Trail”, it is actually a shared space with walkers, runners and other non-motorized users. Small children, dog walkers, and the elderly are among the more vulnerable and less predictable users of the greenway.
FAB advises bicyclists to show the same respect to other trail users that we expect from vehicle traffic. For cyclists on the trail this means slow down, ride to the right, pass on the left, and announce your presence when passing. As our trail system is becoming more and more popular more interactions and conflicts are possible. Please be considerate and yield to more vulnerable greenway users during your ride.