An important piece of legislation affecting California cyclists has been passed by lawmakers. The measure would make the roads safer for cyclists by creating a three-foot passing rule. Many are skeptical of the law’s ability to protect cyclists and prevent personal injury cases say Javaheri&Yahoudai attorneys in Los Angeles.
The legislation requires motorists to give cyclists a minimum spacing of three feet while driving. When cyclists are present, drivers are to maintain a distance of three feet when passing and following cyclists on the road.
Senate Bill 1464 was sponsored by the City of Los Angeles and the California Bicycle Coalition. Sen. Alan Lowenthal played a major role in drafting the piece of legislation. The bill amends an existing bill, clearly defining what a safe distance for clearance should be for motorists.
Previous laws only required that drivers maintain a safe distance when driving wherever cyclists are present. By not defining what is considered to be a “safe distance,” drivers are unaware of how much distance should be kept when passing cyclists.
According to research, cyclists are more likely to be hit from behind as motorists attempt to pass. In fact, most cyclist fatalities and accidents are related to passing. A provision in the bill also requires motorists to slow to 15 MPH in order to pass the cyclists in the event that they are unable to maintain the required three feet of clearance.
Some argue that more should be done in the way of improving local infrastructure to keep cyclists safe. Road improvements like biking lanes or expanding existing ones are being suggested by supporters of the measure. Others believe that the measure alone is enough to make cyclists safer on the road.
Environmentalists and cyclists have shown tremendous support to the legislation. By improving cyclist safety, more individuals will feel safe biking to work and will have more commuting alternatives available to them.
Last October, a similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor argued that densely-populated areas would make it difficult for motorists to maintain such a distance. The new version of the bill is meant to address concerns expressed with the previous SB 910 bill.