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Three-Foot Separation Now Required for Drivers Passing Bicyclists

Aired 9/24/13 on KPBS News.

California drivers will soon be required to leave at least three feet between them and bicyclists they pass on the roads. That's one of 15 bills signed Monday by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Of the 15 bills the governor just signed, the passing distance bill could have the biggest effect on Californians' daily lives. Drivers who don't pass bicyclists by at least three feet will face a $35 fine. That penalty will rise to $220 if a driver's violation of the new law leads to an accident. The measure will take effect in mid-September of next year.

Brown also signed a bill making it illegal to use computer programs that skip to the front of the digital line to buy sports or concert tickets on the web; and legislation allowing minors to remove their Internet and social media posts.

The governor vetoed a measure that would have added two seats to the 18-member California Commission on Emergency Medical Services. It's just the sixth bill he's vetoed this year, out of the nearly 350 he's already acted on.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | September 24, 2013 at 7:41 a.m. ― 3 years ago

and if its a narrow lane and there is on coming traffic, then what, stop?

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Avatar for user 'batmick'

batmick | September 24, 2013 at 8:36 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Yes Mmikey, slow down and stay behind the cyclist until it is safe to pass. That's what the law says.

Just like it was a tractor or street sweeper or some other slower vehicle.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | September 24, 2013 at 9:50 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I see more head-on collisions in our future.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | September 24, 2013 at 10:14 a.m. ― 3 years ago

they need wider bike lanes in the east county, rounding a corner with a bike in a narrow lane and an garbage truck in the other does not present a good choice.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | September 24, 2013 at 10:38 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Unfortunately I see too many bikers come far out into the car lane and there is no way to allow 3 feet because of the other traffic. This is another "sounds great" and is impractical kind of ideas. I do stay behind a bicyclist when there is not enough room to get around them, but it would help if they would pull back in when they have the space on their other side instead of meandering in front of the car. There are too many bicyclist who think they have the right to run over pedestrians on sidewalks, fly through stop signs and red lights, and weave across lanes. They never get a ticket for that but they can cause a hazardous situation by being so relentlessly careless. Not all of them, but too many of them.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | September 24, 2013 at 2:25 p.m. ― 3 years ago

That is going to be tough to measure accurately.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | September 24, 2013 at 4:07 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Bicycle riders have all the same rights as cars.


So slow down, pass when safe, and quit hating.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | September 24, 2013 at 4:41 p.m. ― 3 years ago

We need dedicated striped bicycle lanes not laws that give a false sense of security.

I wouldn't be surprised to see sleazebag lawyers slowly cycling to work down the middle of the 163 while holding tape measures just waiting for someone to get within 2 feet and 11 inches of their cheap cologne-drenched Chinese knock-off plaid Armani suits.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | September 25, 2013 at 9:51 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I don't disagree, but give tickets to the bikers who ride side by side and are over their area too. I agree with Dialyn. They have their bad apples with better than you attitudes too.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | September 28, 2013 at 10:51 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Hooray this means absolutely nothing. The rule if lugnuts shall always prevail regardless of the laws.

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