Governor vetoes SB 1464, citing new concerns about liability

We’ve learned from Sen. Alan Lowenthal this afternoon that Gov. Jerry Brown plans to veto SB 1464, our 3-foot passing bill. According to Lowenthal’s office, the Governor will argue that the provision of the bill that legalizes the common practice of crossing a solid double-yellow centerline in order to pass a bicyclist with at least 3 feet of clearance might expose the state to liability if a driver is injured while doing so.

While this provision was also contained in SB 910, last year’s 3-foot passing bill, concerns about liability were not raised by anyone during the last legislative session. Nor were they expressed during legislative hearings and floor debate about SB 1464, even by the Department of Finance, which tracks the fiscal impact of legislation. In fact, it appears that state law already gives the state immunity from the kind of liability he cites.

We’re deeply disappointed in the Governor’s action, not least because of the assurances he expressed in his veto of SB 910 and the support for a 3-foot passing requirement he personally expressed to Sen. Lowenthal after last year’s veto.

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. 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.

You can the Governor directly about the bill on the contact page of his website.