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Three-Foot Bike Passing Bill Passes

Nothing stirs the pot in Santa Barbara like protocols for bicyclists and motorists dealing with bicyclists. Last week, the California State Assembly passed a bill that would require motorists to provide three feet of space when passing bicyclists. SB 1464 passed after a raucous debate that took nearly 30 minutes and is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown later this month. The law would require:

  • drivers, when overtaking a bicyclist in the same lane and same direction of travel, to pass the bicyclist with at least three feet of clearance.
  • Allows drivers on a two-lane road to cross a solid double yellow centerline, when safe, to pass a bicyclist with at least three feet of clearance.
  • When drivers overtaking a bicyclist cannot give at least three feet of clearance, they must slow down to a speed that is reasonable and prudent given traffic and roadway conditions and only pass when it’s safe to do so.


15 Responses to “Three-Foot Bike Passing Bill Passes”

  1. Biked Off

    And what rights are bikers going to now give drivers and pedestrians?

    How about no riding (motor) bikes in the lane stripe area between cars on the freeways? How about not running stop signs. How about not riding on sidewalks? How about no one-finger salute when you complain after a biker runs you down and scatters you as a pedestrian?

    • Buck Butler

      Since cyclists in SB ride on the sidewalk, run red lights and break whatever traffic laws they want, I’m not that sympathetic. As a regular pedestrian I’ve been hit several times by cyclists on the sidewalk. Should I leave three feet for them, or should they leave three feet for me?

    • Wow, I wonder how many bicyclists would run someone down and then give the poor victim the finger? Very few, like the drivers who hate cyclists and do things to scare or harm them.

  2. Anonymous

    More and more bicyclists are riding their bikes on the sidewalks. How about enforcing the laws!!!

    • Probably bikers would avoid the sidewalks if they felt (and were) safer on the streets and if pedestrians weren’t walking on the bikepaths.

      The “beachway”, formerly the “bike path” is a case in point: there are more pedestrians there than on the sidewalk and they’re often on both sides of the center line, paying no attention, making it difficult to pass.

  3. Beyond frustrated

    Are people that are making this pass nothing but bike riders? The majority follow the rules but everyday I see cyclists and motorists that expect us drivers to follow their personal biking rules. Examples; riding in the middle of the rode, especially on back roads where there are many sharp turns and you can’t pass around them and they ride n fours and never single file staying to the right side in THEIR lanes, yet we would be reamed for driving in the bike lanes. Motorcyclists have on several occasions scratched my car with their foot pedals while in Los Angeles traffic and there is no way of even getting a license plate being they are flying through traffic, and they weave in and out at such high speeds and never see our blinkers and they create accidents between cars while they just keep moving along. There are rules on a freeway or any road and especially ones that should be followed on back hill roads (extra precaution for both cars and cyclists)…… I just wish the law was stricter, clearer and more aware of these things for the safety of us all instead of the driver of cars always taking most of the faults because we didn’t see them when it’s impossible to see someone driving 100mph from 2 lanes over or coming around a mountain corner slamming your brakes on because there are multiple riders blocking the whole road.

  4. el_smurfo

    I inadvertently read the “Give me 3″ on the sign as “ME ME” which seems like a perfect description of SB bike riders. Good intentions, but there’s no way I’m crossing completely into opposing lane to give some entitled road hog “3”, only to have him buzz through the next red light.

    • I’m a cyclist & motorcyclist and I have to agree that it seems that a lot of cyclists feel absolutely entitled to the roadway and don’t think of there own well-being being, well, their responsibility. On the other hand, there are as many auto drivers who are talking on phones or distracted by their kids or the yappy little dog riding in the drivers’ lap.
      A little give and take on both sides would be nice.

      • Beyond frustrated

        I agree and glad we can both (me as a driver and you as a cyclist) take responsibility for our own actions and are on the same page. Drivers get ticketed for cell phone use or wreck less driving, yet when I have called police regarding cyclist not moving for a backup of 20 cars on the Ojai back road they did absolutely nothing about it and I’m sure if the front car (of our back-up) would have hit a rider coming around a blind corner he would have been prosecuted for something he was not at fault for. Common sense and more clear rules for the safety of all and everybody to get along.

        • smacktooth

          Oftentimes the cyclists’ actions you consider a nuisance are done for safety reasons. Riding in the middle of the road during a blind turn on remote roads keeps you from passing the rider in the midst of the turn, which can cause a head-on collision that also injures or kills cyclist. I have seen one head-on caused by an impatient driver passing me on a blind turn. Additionally, double-file riding on remote roads forces drivers to pass only when it is safe to do so, and at a reasonable speed. I understand that all this slows your transit, but that is the cost of sharing a road that was built for everyone.

          I am extremely sympathetic of your views regarding cyclists that run redlights, stop signs, etc. Its not only illegal but dangerous for everyone at the intersection. As a semi-pro cyclist I always rip them a new one when I see that behavior.

  5. Dazed and Confused

    Drive along Foothill ROad and three feet puts you into oncoming cars going 45 MPH.

  6. Irritated One

    Can I give them ONE big foot up the wazoo when they ride in the middle of the street, the wrong way, and not in single-file?

  7. Ever notice that bicyclists arent in as good of shape as say swimmers or runners? I have this theory that they are exhibitionists who are more interested in walking into a coffee shop in their bike speedos than the exercise

  8. I’m a bicyclist and will readily admit that there are bicyclists, especially some of the sport riders, who are inconsiderate towards drivers and sometimes even other bicyclists. They don’t quite get the “share the road” thing. There are also plenty of car and truck drivers that don’t either. But the ton of steel is a heck of a lot more dangerous. Not sure the law will help, but maybe if it is widely publicized…