Assembly Joins Senate and Says : Give Me 3

Yesterday, the California State Assembly joined the Senate in passing S.B. 910 by an overwhelming 41-20 vote.  S.B. 910 would require motorists to give bicyclists a three foot cushion when passing at miles in excess of fifteen miles an hour faster than the cyclist.  The legislation needs re-approval by the Senate, something that occurs 99% of the time, because of some technical changes that occurred in the Assembly at the request of the bill’s author, Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).  From there it will await signature from Governor Jerry Brown.

“We’ve heard too many stories of people having close calls or worse caused by drivers not giving enough space as they pass someone on a bicycle. This new law will make it easier to educate drivers to give a little more space,” said California Bike Coalition Executive Director Dave Snyder. “Protecting people who want to bicycle – and making that choice an easier one for people to make – is an important step in making California a healthier and safer place to live.”

Assuming the Senate and then Governor Brown approve and sign S.B. 910, it will mark the end of a long road that began well before the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, had his elbow broken when forced off his bicycle by an inattentive cab driver.  Following the crash, Villaraigosa made bike safety a legislative priority in Los Angeles.  Safe passing laws have come and gone from the legislative docket in the past, but none have ever achieved passage by both houses.

Who would believe this poster contest would lead to a statewide campaign, that would lead to passage of California's 3-foot passing law?

While Bike Coalitions around the state made passage of S.B. 910 a priority, Los Angeles riders played a special role.  It was a joint campaign of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Midnight Ridazz and LAPD that adopted the “Give Me 3” postering campaign that became the slogan for S.B. 910 supporters.  The posters appeared at hundreds of locations around Los Angeles during the summer and fall of 2010 and caught the attention of campaign organizers with the California Bicycle Coalition.

When S.B. 910 becomes law, California will be the 21st state to pass a safe passing law that specifies a distance.  Despite the rhetoric from AAA and their water carriers in Sacramento, none of these laws have been seriously challenged in the courts or have been shown to confuse drivers.

Streetsblog will let you know the moment S.B. 910 is vetoed or signed into law.

  • Jim Brown

    We’re really lucky to be partnering with the City of LA and Mayor Villaraigosa on this historic effort, and especially grateful for the generosity of the team that created the Give Me 3 campaign.

    Jim Brown
    Communications Director
    California Bicycle Coalition

  • Ccsunflower

    Along with this legislation, I feel that a bikers education program is necessary.  Reason, on neighborhood streets I find bikers riding 2 and 3 abreast taking up the entire lane of traffic for a car.  When they should be riding single file allowing the driver to go around them with the 3 ft space.  Also, many bikers ignore stop signs – they sail right through if they feel that they can make it before the unsuspecting driver has time to hit the brakes.
    This occurs on residential roads with stop signs for only one road leaving the driver on the road without stop signs.  Please do something to educate the bikers that they should obey traffic signs

  • Roadblock

    If everyone would ride at the pace of a bicycle, we wouldn’t need speed calming measures such as stop signs. If it’s a residential street there is absolutely no reason that a car should driving at a speed faster than bicycle riders and therefore no reason for bicycle riders to ride single file. The law permits bicycle riders to ride as many abreast as they choose.

  • Roadblock

    Hi Jim, on behalf of Midnight Ridazz, we are quite proud to have been part of the team that worked on the campaign slogan and helped to generate the graphics for this historic effort that was shepherded through to the state level. Bravo to all!

  • Roadblock

    If everyone would DRIVE at the pace of a bicycle, we wouldn’t need speed
    calming measures such as stop signs. If it’s a residential street there
    is absolutely no reason that a car should driving at a speed faster than
    bicycle riders and therefore no reason for bicycle riders to ride
    single file. The law permits bicycle riders to ride as many abreast as
    they choose.

  • It would be nice if people put down their phones when they are diving a car. I wish somebody in Los Angeles would stop at a stop sign while driving a car. I wish I lived in the suite that is above the Pirates of the Caribean in Disneyland. Most importantly I wish Disney would change Autotopia to electric cars cause they smell up the park (and add bike lanes). 

    Sadly we can’t get what we want. I say we deal with the reality that we can add laws and hope people will follow them. The nice divers/cyclists need to keep the courtesy and hope that the others enjoy paying for their ignorance with tickets from the law. 

    Remember, a drive of a car will never die from being delayed 4 seconds waiting to pass a cyclist. Many cyclists have died from impatient drivers. 

  • Ccsunflower

    I personally feel that bikers and cars should share the road and be respective to each other.  If bikers can clog the entire roadway then I feel that a law should be enacted that changes this.  Safety is the factor.  Think of bikers being allowed to ride in the bus only lane and make the bus slow down to their speed.  Hopefully that was changed – I pity the safety of the biker in that position.  Also, in the interest of a bikers safety, the small silhouette of a biker running a stop sign is hard to see at dusk and they do it.  Again, it takes time to apply brakes – I fear for their safety.  We need a responsible Bikers set of rules.

  • Ccsunflower

    Hey Joe,
    It is not just 4 seconds when they bike 3, 4 and 5 abreast for an entire block or more
    forcing the motorist turn the corner to leave the area – and that is not cooperative sharing of the road.  The roads are subsided by gas taxes etc from the motorists.  So their should be sharing and consideration.
    And the bikers usually go from side to side as they go forward, not just straight pedaling making the problem worse.

  • Anonymous

    “If bikers can clog the entire roadway then I feel that a law should be enacted that changes this.”
    In that case.  If cars can clog the entire roadway, they should make a law that changes this.I should count sometime, but I think I probably pass more cars on my commute than pass me.

  • Abe

    Does it really need to be said again? Gas taxes do NOT pay for roads. They pay a portion of the cost of freeways. If bikes are clogging the freeways, maybe there’s a case to be made…

  • California has no law against bicyclists riding 2-3 abreast.

    Where are these lanes where there’s enough room for a bicycle and a car and three feet between them and a little space to the left of the car (you don’t drive on the line on the left do you) and a little space on the right of the bicyclist (dangerous to ride too close to the edge)?  Those lanes are rare and tend not to last very long in my experience.  Most outside lanes are 12 feet or less.  That’s not enough room.  Most experts including AASHTO and the League of American Bicyclists the minimum width of a lane that’s safe for a bike and a car to share side by side is 14 feet.  It’s relatively rare that it’s safe for a car to pass a bicyclist within the same lane.  When it isn’t (again, the usual case), CVC 21202(a)(3) defines that lane as a substandard width lane and exempts bicyclists from the requirement to keep far right within the lane.

    Part of the problem here is that YOU need more education at least as much as most bicyclists do.  How about you just change lanes?  Do you have OCD about staying in the slow lane?

    The education is out there.  The League of American Bicyclists has excellent classes.  See their web site for a provider near you.  Excellent safety books include Bicycling Street Smarts by John S. Allen (free online), Effective Cycling by John Forester and Cyclecraft by John Franklin.

    It would be nice to see people operating heavy machinery stop for stop signs as well.  The large majority tend not to if there is no cross traffic.

  • Bicyclists don’t “clog the entire roadway” except maybe critical mass, which I am not a fan of but even they don’t hold it up for all that long.

    The reason that you are so afraid is that you’ve never studied bicycle safety and you do not understand it.  That bicyclist in the middle of the lane is no more likely to be hit from behind than a bus going slow in the lane — probably even a bit less since the bicyclist is less likely to slow suddenly.

  • OH NO!  An ENTIRE block!  15 whole seconds only going 15mph.  The world might come to an END!

    Fuel taxes go to state and federal highways.  Most regular surface roads are not state or federal highways (some are but most aren’t).  Bicyclists aren’t even allowed on most freeways where most of your fuel taxes go.

    Bicyclists pay plenty for the roads.

    Do you ONLY drive on single lane each way roads with solid double yellow lines down the middle?  Most people drive other places most of the time.

    What do you do when you’re stuck behind a bus or a heavily loaded 18-wheeler?

    Sharing means that sometimes you will have to be inconvenienced.  I’ve driven over a half million miles in the last 32 years.  I’ve never had to wait for very long to pass a bicyclist safely.  Usually the worst I have to do is change lanes.

    You need to let go of your delusions of entitlement and your delusions about the importance of driving fast all the time.  Bicyclists are not costing you that much time.  It’s time to grow up and learn patience.

  • Actually, the car has to be going 15 miles an hour faster than the cyclist.  I just re-read the article and realized that might be unclear and have made a correction.

  • The driver has to be going faster than 15mph period.  The speed is not relative to the speed of the bicyclist.  Relative speed was in an earlier version of the bill but it was amended after that.  The current version just approved by the Assembly only allows cars to pass less than 3 feet when the cars are going 15mph or less.

  • Prinzrob

    Gas taxes and car fees do not pay for local streets! Do some research! In fact, driving a car costs a city about 25¢ more per mile than riding a bike, so cyclists are the ones actually subsiding the car drivers.

    If you see bikers weaving on the road they are probably just trying to avoid glass an potholes, which were put there by cars and trucks, not by bikes!

  • wait a minute three feet are u crazy it should be 5 feet.


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