California Bicycle Coalition Launches “I Give 3 Feet” Media Awareness & Outreach Campaign

For Immediate Release

September 3, 2014

Contact: Melissa Balmer – Media Director California Bicycle Coalition

Melissa@calbike.org  C. 562.221.9672

Re: The California Bicycle Coalition, Assemblyman Steven Bradford, California Chapters of the Auto Club, and California Highway Patrol Launch Media Awareness Campaigns in Support of “Three Feet for Safety” Becoming Law on 9/16

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Sacramento CA – California’s new bicyclist-passing law “Three Feet for Safety” takes effect Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. In support of the law the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) is launching “I Give 3 Feet” — a media awareness and outreach campaign. This September CalBike is collaborating with bill author Assemblyman Steven Bradford of Gardena, the California Chapters of the American Automobile Association, the California Highway Patrol and CalBike’s affiliate members across the state, to educate both the media and the public about the law and why it’s so crucial for motorists to give at least three feet distance when passing a bicyclist for the safety of everyone concerned. Follow the social media conversation with #IGive3Feet and #IGive3FT. Learn more at www.calbike.org.

“As a lifelong cyclist, I know firsthand that when cars and bikes collide, it often turns to tragedy,” Assemblyman Bradford said. “This bill is a great reminder that we all have to work together to keep our roads safe for all users. I thank the California Bicycle Coalition and all of the grassroots supporters who put safety first and helped us finally pass this legislation.”

A series of press conferences will be held across the state hosted by CalBike, the Auto Club of Southern California, and CalBike’s affiliate members across the state. A media alert and invite will go out later this week with details. Three Feet for Safety illustrates what many motorists still don’t understand – that bicyclists legally have a right to be on the road in California, even on streets that don’t include indicated bike lanes. Motorists need to respect bicyclists by learning to pass them safely.

“More and more Californians are discovering that bikes are an easy, healthy, and fun way to get around, but it’s unnecessarily dangerous when a motorist passes too closely.” said Dave Snyder, the Executive Director of the California Bicycle. In fact getting hit from behind, or sideswiped by a car passing too closely, is one of the top ways bicyclists are injured. Nationally, forty percent of fatal bike crashes are caused by unsafe passing according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Motorists who get caught violating the new law will face a $35 fine plus fees, or a $220 fine — $959 with fees — if a collision occurs. Where a violation results in a collision that injures a bicyclist, the law will be valuable because it establishes a basis for citing the driver for unsafe passing.

Californian now joins twenty-four other states with similar laws. The law goes into effect as California’s state and local governments work to boost bicycling for improved health, reduced traffic congestion, and economic growth.  Bicycling has increased 50% in California since 2000, according to the California Household Transportation Survey, with about two million bike trips daily in the Golden State. In 2014, California moved from 19th to 9th in the annual Bicycle Friendly State rankings by the League of American Bicyclists. The state Dept. of Transportation says it’s working with its partners to infuse about $360 million into biking and other active transportation projects over the next three years while local sales taxes and the state’s cap-and-trade revenue are slated to contribute more than $1 billion to improve bicycling infrastructure.

California’s chapters of the American Automobile Association are supporting the campaign with safety information cards that it is distributing to drivers it helps on the streets and in its annual “School’s Open Drive Safely” campaign directed to 250,000 children, young drivers and parents. The California Highway Patrol is distributing the cards to its public information officers and to visitors at hundreds of its community and safety events, in addition to social media tweets and facebook posts about the law for their followers.

The California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) is also providing bumper stickers and window clings for free to motorists who want to put them on their car to remind other motorists of the need to pass safely. The stickers can be ordered in bulk at calbike.org/giveme3stickers.  Further, CalBike is also working with Caltrans to get approval for an official traffic sign that will remind drivers of the law. Later this month, the California Traffic Control Devices Committee will consider adopting for California a version of signs that are already in use in other states.

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About the California Bicycle Coalition

CalBike enables more people to bicycle for the health, safety, and prosperity of all Californians. We envision millions of people riding bikes every day in California with networks of safe streets and paths conveniently connect every destination. Our goal is to double the amount of bicycling in the Golden State by 2017 and triple it by 2020.

Calbike’s membership coalitions across the state include: Bike Bakersfield, Bike East Bay, Chico Velo Cycling, Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Napa County Bicycle Coalition, People Power of Santa Cruz County, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition, Shasta Living Streets, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and Walk & Bike Mendocino. In2013 CalBike launched the Women on Bikes California initiative.