September 25, 2013
A new bill that has just been signed into law by Governor, Jerry Brown requires that motorists, who are passing a bicycle, leave at least 3 feet of passing space when they do so.
The legislation is expected to go into effect in September 2014, and the law has been widely welcomed by California bicycle accident attorneys, and bicycle safety groups. A number of states around the country have already passed such laws that define the minimum amount of space that motorists must leave when they are passing by a bicyclist. This is meant to help reduce the risk of accidents to bicyclists when motorists drive too close to a bicyclist, yell at or taunt the bicyclist, increasing the bicyclist’s risk of being involved in an accident.
California’s law now requires motorists to give bicyclists a minimum of 3 feet of space, when they’re passing on a California roadway. The law has been a long while coming. In fact, Governor, Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation on two separate occasions in 2011 and 2012. Last year, the Governor objected to language in the law that would have permitted a motorist to cross a double yellow line in order to leave the required passing space. In 2011, he objected to a provision that would have required motorists who are unable to move over, to slow down to a certain speed, regardless of the speed limit on the road.
The law requires motorists to give bicyclists passing space, and requires motorists to slow down if they’re not in a position to give room to the bicycle. Failure to comply with the law would be deemed an infraction, and violators can be penalized with a fine.