NEW 3 Ft Bicycle Law – Effective Today!

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is alerting drivers about a new law that requires them to give bicyclists, traveling in the same direction, three feet of clearance when passing. The Three Feet for Safety Act takes effect Today, September 16, 2014.

According to the new law ( AB1371, Bradford), signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on September 23, 2013, if traffic or roadway conditions prevent motorists from giving cyclists three feet of space, drivers must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent” and only pass when a cyclist will not be in danger. Violations are punishable by a $35 fine. Motorists who collide with cyclists and injure them while violating the Three Feet for Safety Act can be subject to a $220 fine. Under the previous law, a vehicle was simply required to pass to the left at a “safe distance.”

Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.

  • Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules.
  • Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.

California is among 24 states that require motorists to give bicyclists three feet of clearance while passing, according to theNational Conference of State Legislatures.

For more information about safely sharing the road, check out these helpful DMV resources:

–Announcement from the Department of Motor Vehicles

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One response to “NEW 3 Ft Bicycle Law – Effective Today!

  1. So the original law required cars to pass to the left at a “safe distance.”

    The new law requires “three feet or if traffic or roadway conditions prevent motorists from giving cyclists three feet of space, drivers must slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent and only pass when a cyclist will not be in danger.”

    Yeah, that ambiguity isn’t going to cause any problems. And unless drivers affix yardsticks and dashcams to the sides of their cars, every dispute is going to be little more than a “he said, she said” debate in which the party with the more expensive lawyer wins the argument.

    I don’t understand what this new law intends to resolve. Hasn’t it always been illegal to crash a car into a bicyclist (or any other road user)? Wasn’t the previous law requiring a “safe distance” perfectly clear? In what way is this ambiguous new law going to improve bicyclists’ safety and everyone’s right to a fair and just legal system?

    Like

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