Skip to content

Posts from the "Give Me 3" Category

No Comments

Tonight at 7pm: Joe Linton Discusses #IGive3Ft On KCRW’s Which Way L.A.?

Video capture from city of Azusa Police Department video about California's

Video capture from city of Azusa Police Department’s PSA about California’s new 3-foot passing law. Full video on Facebook.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of 3-foot law discussions, tune your radio to KCRW 89.9 F.M. tonight at 7pm. Which Way L.A.? will be hosting a discussion on the 3-foot passing law. I’ll be one of the experts, giving my opinion. We will provide a direct link to the interview in tomorrow’s “Today’s Headlines” post.

It’s the law. Last week, cars passing bicyclists were required to pass at a “safe distance.” As of yesterday, that safe distance is now legally 3 feet.

Drivers who pass too close can receive citations. If there’s no injury, the base fine is $35. If the passing driver injures a cyclist, then the fine goes up to $220. With court and administrative fees, these violations actually cost $233 and $959 respectively.

There has been media coverage. Some clever. Some good. Some dubious. Bicycle injury lawyer Bob Mionski, an interested party if there ever was one, wrote that the law is great, and could be even better. California Bicycle Coalition has a helpful FAQ guide.

I think that any news is good news, though, in this case. The more that drivers are aware of the law, the more likely they are to respect it by passing safely. Most drivers did this already. In the ensuing discussions, cyclists I know have learned things, too. Some of my cyclist friends were not aware that, just like a slow moving tractor or trailer on a rural road, when a cyclist is moving slow enough to back up five or more cars, and there’s no room for the cars to pass, then that cyclist needs to (when it’s safe) pull over and let vehicles go past.

10 Comments

Event Promotes Awareness of CA 3-Foot Passing Bill In Effect Next Week

From this morning's #IGive3Ft press event. The 3-foot long pink bar demonstrates the three feet passing distance, though, legally, drivers shouldn't pass to the left of a bicycle. All photos by Joe Linton

A display from this morning’s #IGive3Ft press event. The 3-foot long pink bar indicates the new three-foot legal minimum passing distance space between cars and bicycles. Legally, though, cars should generally never pass to the right of a moving bicycle as this display seems to indicate. All photos by Joe Linton

This morning, California legislators, law enforcement representatives, cycling advocates, and the Automobile Association of America (AAA) gathered to promote awareness of the state’s new 3-foot passing law. Long in the works, the Three Feet for Safety Act, A.B. 1371, goes into effect next Tuesday, September 16.

As the campaign has shifted from passing the law to enforcing it, the promotional hashtag that used to be from a cyclist’s perspective, #GiveMe3, has now appropriately given way to one from a driver’s perspective, #IGive3Ft.

Here is the summary of the new law, from its legislative preamble:

The bill would prohibit, with specified exceptions, the driver of the motor vehicle that is overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway from passing at a distance of less than 3 feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. The bill would make a violation of these provisions an infraction punishable by a $35 fine. The bill would also require the imposition of a $220 fine on a driver if a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist causing bodily harm to the bicyclist, and the driver is found to be in violation of the above provisions.

The well-attended press event took place in front of Serious Cycling bike shop in Northridge. Most speakers, including the law’s authors, Assemblymembers Steven Bradford and Matt Dababneh, emphasized that the new rule will make streets safer for everyone. 

Assemblymember Bradford explains California's new 3-foot passing law.

Assemblymember Bradford explains California’s new 3-foot passing law at this morning’s press event in Northridge.

Read more…

Streetsblog SF 8 Comments

Gov. Brown Finally Signs Bill Requiring Drivers to Give 3 Feet to Bike Riders

Looks like bicycle riders who get brushed by passing drivers can no longer call it getting “Jerry Browned.”

McAllister Street. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Yesterday, the governor at last signed AB 1371, which will require drivers to provide at least three feet of leeway when passing people on bikes in California. It was the third time the legislature sent the bill to his desk — he vetoed the other two — but this time around, the governor was apparently fine with the fine-tuned language. The bill goes into effect in September 2014.

The law, as passed, will allow drivers who can’t find an opportunity to provide a 3-foot gap to “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway.”

“Bicycling is safer than most people think, but obviously it’s not safe enough,” said California Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Dave Snyder in a statement. “Governor Brown has taken a big step toward improving safety on our roadways by signing this bill.”

Even though 21 other states already have 3-foot passing laws, Brown vetoed the first two attempts, apparently convinced by the California Highway Patrol that the language of the bills would lead to congestion and mayhem. Brown joined Rick Perry of Texas in being the only governors to veto such a bill — twice. The previous two versions of the bill would have allowed drivers to cross double-yellow lines and require drivers who are forced to with less than three feet to do so at 15 mph or less.

According to a news release from CalBike, which rallied support for each iteration of the 3-foot law, more than 4,600 Californians sent messages to Brown asking him to sign AB 1373. “Collisions from behind are the cause of 40% of all fatal crashes between a bicyclist and a motorist and a terrifying deterrent to more bicycling, despite the joy, health and economy that people enjoy when they bike,” the organization said:

Read more…

5 Comments

Will three times be the charm for the state’s latest attempt to create a three-foot passing law?

Maybe the third time is the charm.

Or it could be three strikes and you’re out.

Only the veto pen on Governor Brown’s desk knows which way he’s leaning. And like the Corgi at his feet — and the governor himself — it isn’t talking.

Yesterday, the state Senate approved AB 1371, the Three Feet for Safety Act. This is the latest attempt at creating a minimum three-foot distance to pass a cyclist on California streets, after Brown vetoed two previous attempts in the last two years — joining Texas governor Rick Perry as the nation’s only state leaders to veto three-foot bike safety legislation.

Or rather, surpassing Perry, who only wielded his veto pen once in opposition to safe cycling legislation.

Twenty-one other governors have already signed similar legislation; Pennsylvania mandates a minimum of four feet.

The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Steven Bradford of Gardena, would replace the current requirement that drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance without specifying what that distance is. Instead, it would require a minimum three-foot cushion between any part of the vehicle and the bike or its rider.

The act passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 31-7. It will now go back to the Assembly for a vote to concur with the amendments made following its approval by that chamber earlier this year.

And then it’s back to the governor’s desk, where he’ll have 12 days to sign it.

Or not.

There should be no reason for him to say no this time, however. The bill addresses his expressed, if questionable, reasons for vetoing the previous bills.

Read more…

3 Comments

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. Read more…
19 Comments

Governor Shocks Cyclists with “Give Me 3″ Rejection, Approves Bills Making Infrastructure Improvements Easier

(Note: It was a busy 72 hours in Sacramento this weekend. Streetsblog will split it’s coverage of Governor Jerry Brown’s signings and vetos into two separate stories, one pertaining to bicycles, and a second post for everything else.)

For the second year in a row, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a last-minute veto of legislation mandating a minimum three-foot distance for motor vehicles to pass cyclists. However, two other bills making it easier for cities to implement bike lanes got the governor’s signature, albeit in watered-down form: AB 2245, which exempts bike lanes from excessive review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and AB 819, which establishes a Caltrans experimentation process for adopting currently non-standard innovative bike lane designs, like physically protected bike lanes.

When Brown vetoed the 3-foot passing bill last year, he argued in a widely panned veto-message that a three foot passing law would damage the “free flow of traffic” and proposed a change that would not address his stated problem. This year, Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) made the changes that the Governor requested to SB 1464, but Brown and his advisors created a new reason to veto the legislation.

If only this car had crossed the double yellow line a little sooner. The image is taken from a story on Confessions of a... where a woman recounts the pain of being hit by a car and the miracle that she could walk away from such a crash.

This year, the Governor’s veto message expressed concern that the state would be liable for any crashes caused by reckless drivers who crossed a “solid yellow” line to give cyclists the three-foot buffer. The veto message also stated that Caltrans proposed a solution to “this issue,” but that Lowenthal’s office refused to make the change. Caltrans did not return calls for comments, and advocates familiar with the legislation professed to have “no idea” what the Governor was referencing.

In the nineteen states that have three foot passing laws and the one that has a four foot passing law, Streetsblog can find no evidence that the kind of lawsuit the Governor fears has ever been successfully prosecuted. The California Bicycle Coalition (CBC) reports that the California Department of Finance, the department responsible for tracking whether legislation opens the state to lawsuits, opined that current law would protect the state from these sorts of lawsuits. The CBC also notes that the language the Governor is concerned with was included in 2011′s three foot passing law, and that neither the Governor nor Caltrans expressed any concerns last year.

Cycling advocates were incensed at the veto.

“It’s pretty clear that the Governor is out of touch with what is happening on our roads,” writes Eric Bruins, the Policy and Program Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). “With the distracted driving bill and the 3-foot passing bill, the Legislature is responding to the public’s concerns about traffic safety.  It’s time for the Governor to engage on these issues and protect victims of dangerous and distracted driving.”

The California Bicycle Coalition was even harsher.

“Brown has offered no indication of how he views bicycling or expressed any ideas for ensuring the safety of Californians who rely on bicycling as everyday transportation,” writes the Coalition on their website. “By vetoing SB 1464, he makes clear that he prioritizes legalistic speculation over the safety of Californians.”

“We’re deeply concerned about what his lack of vision and leadership means for the safety of our streets and roads.”

Ted Rogers is the author of the website Biking In L.A. and a member of the LACBC Board of Directors. After last year’s veto, Rogers and a handful of other bloggers began referring to a cyclist being buzzed or struck by a passing motorists “being Jerry Browned.” When asked if he thinks “being Jerry Browned” will catch on, he argues “He deserves to be remembered for this for the rest of his hopefully short political career.” Rogers was speaking for himself, and not the LACBC.

But the news wasn’t all bad for cyclists out of the Governor’s Office. While Brown refused to “Give Me 3,” he did sign two pieces of heavily amended legislation that will make construction of bicycle projects easier. Read more…

Streetsblog SF 6 Comments

Three-Foot Bike Passing Bill Passes CA Assembly, Needs Gov’s Signature

A driver prepares to pass a bicycle rider on the Wiggle in San Francisco. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The California State Assembly passed a bill Monday that would require motorists to provide three feet of space when passing bicyclists. SB 1464, which passed with a 50-16 vote, is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September following a “largely procedural” approval by the State Senate, which already passed the bill in May, according to the California Bicycle Coalition.

Thousands of supporters wrote their Assembly members in recent weeks to urge a “yes” vote in a campaign spearheaded by TransForm and the CBC. The bill, according to the CBC, has “none of the organized opposition that fought SB 910,” the 3-foot passing bill that was vetoed by Brown last year. At the time, Brown said he was responding complaints from the California Highway Patrol and the American Automobile Association over a provision that would have required drivers to slow down to 15 MPH to pass if providing three feet was unfeasible. Instead, SB 1464 would require drivers in that situation to “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.”

The debate in the Assembly yesterday offered a glimpse of certain legislators’ views on cycling.

“This is a common sense approach to safety for bicyclists,” said Assembly Member Steven Bradford, a Democrat who represents the 51st District in Los Angeles. “Where it is unsafe to move over three feet, drivers have the discretion of just slowing down and passing a bicyclist.”

Three Assembly members spoke in opposition to the bill, all Republicans. Assembly Member Diane Harkey, representing the 73rd District in Orange County, eschewed the responsibilities of drivers to watch out for vulnerable street users and said more of the onus should be placed on bicyclists.

The bill, said Harkey, “Allows for lawsuits on motorists who are trying to do the right thing, but for some reason or another, a cyclist comes up behind, maybe in a blind corner, and the cyclist thinks he has the right-of-way and maybe is going full speed ahead, and knows that he’s got the law on his side, however, he may not have the poundage on his side.”

“Just because you have the right-of-way, doesn’t mean that you will survive or live,” added Harkey. “The cycling has gotten a little bit out of control. They are not cars.”

Read more…

Streetsblog SF 16 Comments

Three-Foot Passing Bill Up for Vote at State Assembly Tomorrow

Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. Photo: Richard Masoner/Flickr

A state bill that would require drivers to give three feet of leeway when passing bicyclists in California is headed to the State Assembly for a vote this Friday.

TransForm and the California Bicycle Coalition are calling on supporters to email their Assembly members and urge them to vote “yes.” If approved by the Assembly, the bill could be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September, bringing California in line with 21 other states and the District of Columbia, which have similar laws.

Support for the bill looks strong. The bill sailed through the State Senate in May, and by yesterday afternoon, supporters had sent at least 1,340 letters to their Assembly members, according to the CBC. The real question remaining is whether the bill will be signed by Governor Brown, who vetoed a previous version of the bill last year.

The new bill was modified to address Brown’s complaints about a provision which would have required drivers to slow down to 15 MPH if they are unable to safely provide three feet of room. Instead, the bill would require drivers in that situation to “slow down to a speed that is reasonable and prudent given traffic and roadway conditions and give the bicyclists as much clearance as feasible.”

8 Comments

The State Senate Decides Whether to “Give Me 3″ on Thursday

Senate Bill 1464, the three-foot bike passing bill proposed by California Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), heads back to the Senate on Thursday, May 24 after sailing through committee last week. Buoyed by a strong campaign by the California Bike Coalition (CBC) and TransForm, thousands of supporters have already written letters to their senators urging them to pass the bill.

The first Give Me 3 poster on 1st and Main in Los Angeles, 2010. Photo: LADOT Bike Blog

“The community of people who care about the safety of bicyclists continues to be the backbone of support for this bill,” said Jim Brown, spokesperson for the CBC. “Nearly 1,800 people have contacted their state senators to urge a yes vote this Thursday. This is a very large response by any measure, especially for bike-related legislation. It shows how strongly people care about making our roads safer.”

If passed, SB 1464 would require drivers to give cyclists a three foot passing berth when passing them. A nearly identical proposal, SB 910, was vetoed by Governor Brown in October due to pushback from AAA and the CA Highway Patrol (CHP), despite making its way through both houses of the legislature. As reported in Streetsblog  last month, the CBC worked with AAA and the CHP to revise the language they objected to and propose a new bill.

SB 1464 differs from last year’s bill by allowing drivers to cross a solid double yellow centerline (when safe) if necessary to give a bicyclist at least three feet of space. If three feet aren’t available, the bill requires drivers to pass by slowing down to a “reasonable and prudent” speed and give bicyclists as much space as “feasible.”

The CBC launched the “Give Me 3” campaign to support the bill last year using imagery from Los Angeles’ bike safety campaign in 2010. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told Streetsblog that the passage of a safe passing law in Sacramento is “a top legislative priority” for him. Read more…

No Comments

Take 2: As Pennsylvania Gives Cyclists 4, “Give Me 3″ Heads Back to Committee

State Senator Alan Lowenthal’s “Give Me 3″ legislation, S.B. 1464, is going back to the Senate Housing and Transportation Committee on April 17. The bill would require drivers to give cyclists a three foot passing berth when overtaking them. I say “going back” because nearly identical legislation, S.B. 910, was passed by both houses of the legislature last year, before Governor Brown exercised his veto. Brown expressed concerns about hypothetical traffic congestion caused by cars slowing down to pass bicycles.

While California is still trying to "Give Me 3," Pennsylvania is already requiring drivers to give cyclists a four foot passing berth. Photo: Fran Maye/South West Chester Weeklies

Assuming it passes both houses of the legislature again, how will 2012′s “Give Me 3″ legislation clear the governor’s desk this time around?

Jim Brown of the California Bike Coalition explains. “The language in 1464 is identical to 910 except we didn’t include the provision that the governor said he didn’t support,” said Brown.  ”We took out a provision that says if you can’t give three feet of space you have to slow down to 15 mph to pass.”

That doesn’t mean cyclists on single lane roads are being abandoned. Brown confirmed that specific new language, which is not objectionable to AAA or the California Highway Patrol, will be unveiled this week and added to the legislation either at the April 17 committee hearing or before it.

While California cyclists and lawmakers continue to tinker with language to appease the state’s car lobby (and governor), a four-foot passing law went into effect in Pennsylvania yesterday. On February 2, Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed a law giving cyclists an even wider berth than required by California’s proposed legislation.

For more information about S.B. 1464, visit the FAQ page on the Give Me 3 campaign website, or check out the bill’s language in its entirety.