Take 3 for “Give Me 3.” Safe Passing Law Heads to Assembly Committee on Monday

The pomp and circumstance for the most recent effort to mandate a 3-feet passing distance for cars overtaking bicyclists is noticeably more quiet than the past two years. Whatever the reason, perhaps cyclists aren’t willing to get their hopes up again after Governor Jerry Brown’s two incoherent veto messages in 2012 and 2011, the statewide cycling movement doesn’t seem as revved up this time around. Even the “Give Me 3” website created by the California Bike Coalition for the specific reason of passing such legislation has not been updated to mention 2013′s AB 1371 by Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena).

Take 3.

However, all of that is starting to change. On Sunday, Bradford will stand with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who had backed a safe passing law following his own bike crash in 2010, and hundreds of cyclists at the “opening” of CicLAvia to call for the legislature and Governor to act quickly to make a three foot passing law a reality in California. On Monday, the Assembly Transportation Committee will hear AB 1371, the bill’s first step on its way to becoming a law.

“I am thrilled to join Mayor Villaraigosa at CicLAvia which will, for the first time, come to the 62nd District by way of Venice,” Bradford said. “This is a great event to raise awareness of cyclists’ right to ride safely on our city streets, and this bill will do the same.”

Cyclists who want to show support for the legislation can join Bradford and Villaraigosa at a 9:30 a.m. CicLAvia kick-off press conference on Olvera Street on April 21st before riding off towards Venice. Or, you can voice your support digitally by signing the online petition or using the #3feet4safety hashtag on social media.

Bradford’s bill is designed to increase safety for cyclists on California’s roads, making cities more livable and environmentally friendly. AB 1371, known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, establishes a minimum three-foot barrier for automobiles passing bicycles on California streets.

As mentioned above, similar legislation authored by Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-LB) were passed by the Assembly and Senate before Brown’s vetos. Bradford’s staff has already made changes to the legislation to attempt to make the bill more acceptable to the Governor’s office and his advisors at Caltrans.

Lowenthal is still a large supporter of safe passing laws, but was elected to the United States House of Representatives last November.

Twenty states have passed three foot passing laws, and Pennsylvania has a four foot passing law. Brown is joined only by Texas Governor Rick Perry as the only executives to ever veto a safe passing law.