Stay-Clear of Cyclists Law to Go to Assembly Friday

A bill has passed the state senate requiring automobiles to pass no closer than three feet of bicyclists. The City of Los Angeles supports the proposed law, as do lots of local bike riders. Will it help protect riders? Give drivers headaches?

Several incidents have left bikers injured or dead. And last year right in Echo Park, there were fisticuffs at the as an auto brushed up against a biker-activist.

The proposed state law, making it a legal requirement for automobiles to give bicyclists a minimum clearance of three feet when passing, has the support of local cyclists, and the City of Los Angeles, which has been working closely with the California Bicycle Coalition to rally support for the legislation.

It was authored by Senator Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach.

Read more about the bill in this posting from the California Bicycle Coalition.

SB 1464 has passed the state Senate and is up for a vote by the Assembly Friday. How would you urge our assembly members Mike Gatto and Gil Cedillo to vote?

Tell us in the comments.

detrich August 21, 2012 at 01:46 AM
this law will not improve cyclist safety and is just propaganda... if any police officer sees any motor vehicle unsafely passing a cyclist, they already have the discretion needed to pull the car over and issue a citation. why do we need more laws such as this? if anything, one could argue that cyclists are the ones who often need to learn how to ride with courtesy and share the road properly. more than often, they hog the road, do not ride single file, and blatantly dis-obey traffic signs/ signals. motor vehicles and bicyclists need to share the road. but, this doesn't mean cyclists are more important than motor vehicles. the ratio of motor vehicles to bicyclists makes it an easy answer as to whom priority ought to be given.
Will Campbell August 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Setting aside Detrich's bias against cyclists and contradictory statements about sharing the road YET prioritizing it for automobiles based strictly on their numbers, using his logic most vehicle code violations are unnecessary and enforcement can be placed under the category of "officer discretion." I would like to have seen mentioned in the article that this is a revision to the original three-foot-passing law that sailed through the state's senate and assembly last year only to be vetoed by Gov. Brown who instead of siding with the people (Detrich excepted, of course) and signing the legislation, chose to rather shamelessly align himself with factions steadfast against the law such as the Auto Club and the California Highway Patrol... oh -- and Detrich.
Anthea Raymond (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 02:47 PM
@Will-Thanks for mentioning it here.
CJ August 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Are there more car/bike incidents per-capita than car/car incidents? Are there more than car/motorcylce? Is this an actual problem? I'm not trying to be a smart ass - seriously asking if there's a higher frequency of accidents between cars and bikers than other forms of transportation.
EP Hillbilly August 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Time to add an amendment to have bicycles registered and taxed. Also riders be tested and certified to ride on public roads
Save the Los Angeles River August 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Like EP's comment. I think instead of putting more and more requirments on drivers its time they put some laws bicycle riders. As I go out and about I see an awful lot of bicycle riders disobeying the laws and you have to watch them closely. They do not stop for red lights-zoom straight on thru. Don't stop at stop signs, cut in front of cars to change lanes and other stupid things.
Jim August 21, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I think, or at least I would hope, that most car/bike accidents are not the intentional infliction of harm upon the bicyclist by the auto driver. They are accidents. While the law is very well intentioned, the harm comes from the creation of a false sense of safety on the part of the bicyclist. Like it or not a 2500 pound car going at any speed is no match for a bicycle and its rider. Bicyclists must take the necessary precautions to ensure their own safety. This is the problem with pedestrians. How many times have you seen people walk into a crosswalk without looking in either direction. If you asked them why they did that, they will say, "We have the right of way." A lot of good that does you when a distracted driver plows you over. Yes, the driver is wrong, but you're still dead. I just wish they would enforce the bike laws. No bikes on sidewalks. Bikes should ride with the flow of traffic on the street. How many times have you seen bicyclists fly down the sidewalk going in the wrong direction and a car that has been waiting to turn left has no idea that it's there. All in all, I don't have issues with the law--although I'm not sure how to measure three feet from my car--but if anyone thinks this makes bicyclists any safer, they're wrong. If you're on a bike, you need to take responsibility for your own safety regardless of the laws.
Jay August 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I have nothing against cyclists and I give them as much space as possible. That said, I have to agree with others here that cyclists need to be mindful of the laws and ride in a safe manner. Too many ride right in the middle of a lane, ride 2 across and/or completely ignore traffic signs.
Theodore Liscinski August 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
It is a problem for cyclists. Many cases of cyclists hit by a car aren't investigated by police unless someone dies.
Will Campbell August 22, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Jay, I understand where you're coming from, and as a cyclist I'm one of those who rides safely and with respect and adherence to the laws (and is confounded by those who don't). But since both examples you cite are legal for cyclists to do, I respectfully suggest you familiarize yourself with the laws. While cyclists are directed in CVC 21202 to ride as "far to the right as practicable," that law also makes it clear that it is completely legal for a cyclist to take an entire lane when necessary. As to cyclists riding two abreast, it is a common misconception that such a practice is unlawful, but in fact there is no vehicle code statute prohibiting cyclists from doing so.


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