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Vote: Should the State Require a 3-Foot Space When Drivers Pass Cyclists?

California’s SB 1464 would require that you give cyclists at least 3-feet of space when passing.

State Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a bill that would require all drivers to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when they pass them.

The bill, SB 1464 ,would also require drivers to slow to a “reasonable and prudent” passing speed when the distance is not possible. It also permits drivers to, when safe, move into the oncoming traffic lane to provide the required space. Anyone who violates the proposed law would get hit with a $35 fine; and if a cyclist is injured due to a violation, the fine goes up to $220.

Before the Assembly votes, Patch wants to know what you think about SB 1464. Vote in our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments below. How would you vote if it were up to you? The topic of shared roadways has proven to spur plenty of conversation in Encinitas recently. Patch’s last article about the city’s changes to bike lanes along Coast Highway 101.

Many cycling groups across the state have recently come out in favor of SB 1464, including the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

“We hope that the change will bring more attention from more people, and that motorists will realize bicycles do belong on the road,” said Jim Baross, a spokesperson for the group. “As we learn in kindergarten, we all need to take turns when there’s limited space.”

The California Bicycle Coalition is also sponsoring a campaign in support of the bill.

“Many Californians who want to ride their bikes on streets and roads won't … because they're concerned about drivers who pass too closely. They've either seen or heard about a bicyclist who was buzzed or hit by a passing car and they're scared,” the Coalition has posted on its “Give Me Three” campaign website. 

Under existing state laws, motorists are required to share the road with cyclists—but there are no specific requirements about how much space must be left when passing.

“Many of us would certainly like more than 3 feet of space, especially when the motorist is going quickly,” Baross said.  

Governor Jerry Brown has already vetoed another similar bill, SB 910. It would have required motorists to slow to 15 mph if they couldn’t provide the 3-foot clearance. In his veto message, the governor stated that the 15 mph mandate could increase rear-end collisions on California highways.

SB 1464 passed state Senate earlier this month and was introduced by lead author Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach). Patch will keep you posted on how the bill fares while on the Assembly floor, so check back for updates.

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billdsd August 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
I forgot that he was also violating 27001 with his continuous honking which was not meant to insure safe operation. It was meant to threaten.
Tapple August 24, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Ok, time to move on to something that matters . . .
billdsd August 24, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I also forgot 21703, tailgating.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Where are you seeing these wide right lanes with no bike lanes and no parked cars for any significant distance? I sure don't see them in very many places. And you still haven't explained what is so difficult about moving over to pass a bicycle safely. I've done a lot of driving in the 33 years that I've been driving and I have never found this difficult. It's extremely easy. People keep arguing about how it's so inconsiderate of bicyclists to make them move over to pass. Why? Why is such an incredibly trivial inconvenience such a huge deal? It makes no sense. You move over to pass slower traffic all the time. Bicyclists are the only ones that you expect to stay out of your way.
Matt Ruscigno August 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Sure, most automobile drivers have the courtesy and decency to understand they are driving 2 plus ton steel machines that easily kill people, but there enough who do not realize this and treat bicycle riders like they are in their way. I challenge anyone who speaks out against this to spend just 10 hours on a bicycle on the streets in their area and see how they feel.

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