Lance and Tony Have Message for Gov. Brown: Give Us 3

Lance Armstrong and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at "Hope Rides Again" Cancer Awareness Event in March, 2009. Photo:SoCalCycling.com

CicLAvia ride buddies Lance Armstrong and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have joined forces again.  Their target: Governor Jerry Brown.  Their message: sign S.B. 910, the state’s three foot passing law that would protect cyclists from drivers who pass too close and too fast.

“Gov. Brown can help make our roads safer for everyone by making Senate Bill 910 the law in California,” said Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, and the most famous bicyclist in the world.

“I’m thrilled that we have Lance Armstrong’s support on this issue,” added Villaraigosa. “His success is a big reason so many more Californians are interested in bicycling. It’s so important to have experts like him advocating for making California a more bike-friendly place.”

The Senate and Assembly both passed S.B. 910, authored by Long Beach Senator Alan Lowenthal, which would require motorists passing bicyclists to give at least a three foot cushion if the car’s speed is 15 miles per hour. Many Republicans opposed the measure, in large part due to the opposition of speeding traffic advocates, AAA and the California Highway Patrol. Last week, Streetsblog San Francisco reported that those same two groups are lobbying the Governor to veto this traffic safety measure.

Jim Brown, Communications Director for the California Bicycle Coalition, notes that similar, and often times stricter, passing laws in other states have not produced ill effects for drivers or bicyclists as the AAA claimed in their lobbying pieces.

“What Gov. Brown needs to understand is that SB 910 is a reasonable and common-sense measure that’s been road-tested in 20 other states, including Wisconsin, whose 3-foot-passing law was enacted 38 years ago,” Brown explains. “None of these states has experienced unanticipated traffic tie-ups, an increase in collisions or other problems from drivers being unable to give bicyclists enough space. This is a law that simply makes the rules of the road clearer for everyone.”

The California Bicycle Coalition has set up a web page to help supporters contact the Governor’s office. To learn more about their campaign, click here.  Streetsblog will report as soon as we hear word on whether the Governor has signed S.B. 910 into law or vetoed it.