Give Me 3 – It’s the Law!

We are delighted that after years of diligent work by advocates from across California, Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Three Feet for Safety Act” on September 23, 2013. The bill is part of the Give Me 3 campaign to ensure that California drivers give people riding a bicycle at least three feet of space when passing them.

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. For years, advocates have been demanding California join the twenty-one other states and pass a law that compels drivers to be more respectful of bicyclists’ safety and ensure that our roads are welcoming to everyone.

That’s why AB 1371 has been a priority for us at CalBike.

Now that Governor Brown has signed this bill, violating motorists will be committing an infraction and subject to the same fine for illegal passing, equal to a $35 base fine plus the fee which brings it to $233. The base fine would increase to $220 ($959 minimum total) if a collision occurs. The bill will go into effect on September 16, 2014.

This is the third time a similar bill has passed the state legislature, but Governor Brown joined Texas’ Rick Perry and vetoed the previous two. This bill included revisions that met the CHP’s concerns about unusual and unlikely road conditions and Caltrans’ opposition to an earlier provision that permitted motorists to cross the double-yellow line when passing a person riding a bicycle.

As part of our campaign, over 4,600 Californians flooded the Governor’s office with letters, asking him to sign the Three Feet for Safety Act.

Next, CalBike will work with motorist organizations, police agencies and the DMV to teach how vital it is to give people riding a bike enough space. This is a hard-earned victory, and there is much work to be done to keep bicyclists safe from collisions from behind. And with your help, we will succeed.

Remember – three feet for safety!

[For a sampling of media coverage and answers to frequently asked questions, click here.]

 

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