The much anticipated Three Feet for Safety Act goes into effect across the California landscape on September 16, 2014 and we at The Bike GPS are stoked about it. No pun intended. If you’re not familiar with the Three Feet law taking the books, it mandates that drivers of motor vehicles in California must stay a minimum of three feet away from bicyclists while they’re passing them. A number of folks have asked us over the course of this past year, “But what if three feet isn’t possible? Sometimes, you just don’t have room.” If this is the case, the driver must slow his or her vehicle to a “reasonable and prudent” speed. Also, the driver can only pass the cyclist if such a move will not endanger the cyclist in any way.
According to an article on California’s Three Feet Law in “The Santa Cruz Sentinel,” “Officers who spot drivers too close to bicyclists can cite the driver $35 for a first infraction; drivers who are at fault in injury crashes with bicyclists face $225 tickets, the law states. State law already requires drivers to pass bicyclists only when it’s safe, but the 3-foot rule is more specific.” But as the article goes on to say, “For many bicyclists, the 3-foot rule makes the road rule more tangible, if not necessarily enforceable.”
Cyclists, while the Three Feet Law will soon be the law of the land here in California, we urge you not to try to enforce it yourself. Educate the public when you’re not on your bike. Don’t endanger your life to teach moronic drivers about the law in California. It’s just not worth it. Part of the mission of our business is to advocate on behalf of cyclists. We want all Californians to know that every lane is a bike lane and beginning September 16, 2014, drivers must leave three feet between their cars and cyclists when passing. So start spreading the news!