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:##

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.

  • Anonymous

    Go Lance!

  • Anonymous

    I admit I’ve not been a Lance fan lately, and I have been a Brown fan so far.  But hats off the Lance for supporting this legislation, and Brown will forever be on my black list if he kow-tows to the distorted arguments put forth by AAA and adopted by CHP against this bill.  The naked truth is the CHP, being an organization of professional drivers, wants to be able to endanger cyclists with legal impunity.  The simple logic is that nobody who cares about cyclist safety should oppose this law unless they think it’s possibly safe to pass a cyclists at over 15 mph with less than a 3-foot margin.  Since it clearly isn’t, I conclude those who oppose don’t care about cyclist safety.  Governor Brown, CA lost the chance to lead on this issue.  13 states have already adopted such laws.  While the lost time, and lost lives can’t be recovered, at least let’s follow the herd and take the simple measure to protect vulnerable road users.

  • Chris Morfas

    Thanks for the article! However, there’s an important error in the piece. The exception to the 3-foot requirement is when motorists are traveling less than 15 miles per hour, not when the differential is 15mph or less. The new language reflects a late amendment that much improves the bill for bicyclists.

    Keep sending those letters!!

    Chris Morfas, President
    California Bicycle Coalition

  • Chris Morfas

    Damien, thanks for the speedy correction!

  • justin

    Bicyclists know that no law is going to “protect cyclists from drivers.” Take a ride down Townsend, Valencia, the Embarcadero, etc and see how well regulations like speed limits, red lights, and bike lanes protect cyclists on those roads. Only good traffic engineering that forces drivers to obey laws *by design* and zero-tolerance enforcement of those laws can even begin to be considered protection. 

  • Sounds great! But even if passed it won’t be enforced. 

  • Huge fan of Lance Armstrong. I am finishing a new fan site Let me know what you think.  -SoCelebrities

  • J R Louisl

    Lance and Mayor Villaraigosa I fully support SB 910 law in California. How can I helphelp.IHJoseph Louis