SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is alerting drivers about a new law that requires them to give bicyclists, traveling in the same direction, three feet of clearance when passing. The Three Feet for Safety Act takes effect September 16, 2014.
According to the new law (AB1371, Bradford), signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on September 23, 2013, if traffic or roadway conditions prevent motorists from giving cyclists three feet of space, drivers must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent” and only pass when a cyclist will not be in danger. Violations are punishable by a $35 fine. Motorists who collide with cyclists and injure them while violating the Three Feet for Safety Act can be subject to a $220 fine. Under the previous law, a vehicle was simply required to pass to the left at a “safe distance.”
Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others are due to the motorist’s lack of attention.
Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules.
For more information about safely sharing the road, check out these helpful DMV resources: Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists, Bicycle Resources, and an Informational Video.