Advocacy Alert: 3ft Passing Bill on Governor Brown’s Desk

Our statewide partners at the California Bicycle Coalition are one step closer to victory in their latest Give Me 3 campaign.

Give Me 3 is a Bill to get drivers to give a safe three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle rider. Assembly Bill 1371 amends the Vehicle Code to specify three feet as the safe passing distance. Twenty-one other states have enacted similar legislation.

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The bill has been passed by the California State Assembly and as of August 27th, 2013 it passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote! Now it sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting final approval.

The legislation would “require a driver to pass a bicycle at a distance of at least three feet”, but when drivers cannot leave that much room due to road conditions they must slow to “a reasonable and prudent speed” and pass only if doing so would not endanger the cyclist’s safety. A violation would be punishable by fines starting at $35. It also sets a base fine of $220 (that’s $959 once court fees and other expenses are added) for injuring a bicycle rider in violation of this statute.

This current version of the bill is an attempt to address the concerns raised by the governor in vetoing previous 3-foot passing bills over the past two legislative sessions. This has given him the distinction of becoming only the second governor to do so – joining Texas’ Rick Perry.

Over 40% of fatal bicycle collisions are caused by motorists passing unsafely. And yet, Governor Brown has vetoed CalBike’s previous two “3 foot” bills. With your help today, the third time could be the charm.

AB 1371, if signed into law by the governor, could become an effective educational tool in making roads safer for all users. Please send a note urging Governor Jerry Brown to pass this important piece of legislation, and require California drivers to give a safe distance when they pass you on your bicycle.