Support Bicycle Safety, Support SB 910

This week, a bill will be voted on in the California Senate to amend the California Vehicle Code on “overtaking” (passing from behind), specifically as it relates to motorists passing bicyclists, by requiring a minimum distance of 3 feet when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind.

The SLO County Bicycle Coalition, along with other advocacy groups across the state, urge you to show your support for such a law which promotes bicycle safety.

 

SUPPORT SENATE BILL 910:

  •  Authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach.
  • Co-sponsored the California Bicycle Coalition, the City of Los Angeles, and Bike Coalitions around the state.

THE LAW:

  • Amend California Vehicle Code Sec. 21750 about passing from behind as it relates to motorists passing bicyclists.
  • Require a minimum distance of 3 feet when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind.
  • Legalize the current practice of crossing the double yellow centerline, when clear, in order to pass a bicyclist.
  • Set a $220 base fine for a violation that injures a bicyclist (equal to the lowest fine for reckless driving with great bodily injury). For non-injury violations the base fine is $35 (equal to the fine for unsafe passing).

THE REASON:

  • Safety is the #1 barrier to cycling. Clarifying and enforcing the rules for safe passing can help encourage more people to choose bikes for transportation.
  • Passing-from-behind collisions are the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.
  • Current state law is too subjective. Specifying a 3-foot passing distance provides an objective definition of “safe.” The California Driver’s Manual already recommends a 3-foot passing distance as one of its “rules of the road.”
  • If we show our support, and the Governor signs the bill, California will join 18 other states in the country who have passed similar bills.

Click the photo above, click the link here, or call (805) 549-3784 to contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to support SB 910 in order to increase the safety of bicyclists in California. Simply fill out the form to show your support. Below is text you can use in your request to the Senator:

Dear Senator Blakeslee,

I’m a constituent from the 15th District and I’m writing to ask you to vote yes on Senate Bill 910 (Lowenthal), which will be heard by the Senate in coming days.

Cyclists too often face dangerous conditions on California’s streets due to motorists passing too closely. This type of collision is the leading cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the U.S.

Requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing, we can minimize a leading cause of deadly collisions and help more people feel comfortable about choosing to ride their bikes.

A specified passing distance provides a more objective and easily understood measure of what constitutes “safe” and gives law enforcement and the courts a more objective basis for enforcing California’s safe passing requirement. Most importantly, it helps emphasize a motorist’s special responsibility to safeguard more vulnerable road users like bicyclists.

Once again, I would like to ask that you vote yes on Senate Bill 910. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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