New Law to Protect Bicyclists in CA

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According to an article on the Tech Times website:

“A new law in California requires that motorists keep a buffer of 3 feet (1 yard) from bicyclists when passing by or slowing down. Drivers will have to maintain the space to avoid getting fined for violation.”

The new law, which was signed by governor Jerry Brown goes into effect today (Sept. 16th, 2014).

Am I the only one who is scratching in his head over such a law? Apparently previous laws required motorists to pass safely but didn’t specify the distance.

First of all, I’m trying to figure out why you need a law to make drivers not run over bicyclists. I mean, granted, there are jerks out there who fly by bike riders too close and probably think it’s funny to scare them but there will always be jerks on the road and I can’t imagine that they are suddenly going to stop being jerks because of this new law. Is this law going to allow the police to ticker these jerks where they couldn’t before? Couldn’t they just be ticketed for unsafe driving?

Secondly I’m trying to figure out how a driver knows how far a bicyclist is from his bumper when the bicyclist is on the far side of the car? My wife is always telling me that I’m riding too close to the shoulder and I’m constantly telling her that she’s driving too close to the middle of the road. I can’t even properly estimate how much room there is between the front or read bumper when I trying to park. I’ll think I’ve left 3 inches, get out and look and there’s 3 feet.

Finally, I’m trying to figure out who determines if it was 3 feet? The police officer? How close does the officer have to be to adequately judge the distance?

Even Dave Snyder, the executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition admits that the new law “…doesn’t really change what drivers are already supposed to do..” but that it adds a measurement to the law. Really? Unless bicyclists ride around with some kind of 3 foot perimeter around them that will allow us to know when we aren’t at least 3 feet away from them I don’t see this new law making any difference at all.

Can anyone tell me how much this law costs to get passed?

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