1. The law already provides that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance without interfering with their safe operation.
2. We don’t believe that three feet is measurable or enforceable in practice.
3. Emphasizing three feet as the passing distance may encourage some drivers to pass too closely when greater clearance is needed.
4. A 15-mph speed differential also can’t be measured or enforced, and is not always appropriate.
5. By amending CVC 21750 to remove references to bicycles and replacing it with CVC 21750.1, which always requires passing on the left, the bill apparently makes it unlawful to pass a bicyclist on the right, even if the bicyclist is turning left.
6. The language of proposed CVC 21750.1 is ambiguous:
“The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance, at a minimum clearance of three feet or at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the speed of the bicycle, without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle.”
“At a safe distance,” “at a minimum clearance of three feet,” or “at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the speed of the bicycle” can be read as a series of three items any one of which is sufficient. It’s also unclear whether “without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle” modifies all of these, or only the last.
7. We support the concept of permitting motorists to cross double yellow lines to pass bicyclists. However, “substandard width lane” is undefined, and the condition given, when “it is safe to do so,” is too vague and allows too much latitude for driver misjudgment.
(June 24 update: CABO Now SUPPORTS 3-Foot Passing Bill SB910)