Support Bicycle Safety, Support SB 1464

Next week, Senate Bill 1464 will be voted on in the California Senate. This bill amends 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.

You may remember a similar bill being introduced last year, ultimately vetoed, and misunderstood by Gov. Brown. This version of the bill addresses his concerns and we are confident SB 1464 will gain his support. See a comparison of the two bills here.

The Senate Transportation & Housing Committee voted 8-0 to approve SB 1464 on April 17th. The full Senate will vote on the bill on Thursday, May 24th. 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 SB 1464:

  •  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 LAWS:

  • Require a minimum distance of 3 feet when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind in the same lane.
  • 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 riding a bicycle. Clarifying and enforcing the rules for safe passing can help encourage more people to choose bicycles for transportation.
  • Passing-from-behind collisions are the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.
  • If we show our support, and the Governor signs the bill, California will join 21 other states who have passed similar bills.

Check out this video of a rider in close call. SB 1464 would make motorist behavior like this illegal, and further protect the safety of bicycles who are legally using the roadway.

Click the photo above, click the link here, or call (805) 549-3784 to contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to support SB 1464 and increase the safety of bicycle riders 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 1464 (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 1464. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Next week’s conversation is amongst Senators only – they won’t hear any outside testimony from organizations like the CA Bicycle Coalition. But Senators listen to their constituents. That’s why it’s so important for you to contact your Senator today!

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