CABO continues to take an “oppose until amended” position on “three-foot passing law” SB910. CABO representatives recently met with Senator Lowenthal’s staff to address CABO’s concerns.
Although we listed several points in a previous blog post, a key concern was the exemption from the three-foot requirement when the motorist-cyclist speed differential is 15 mph or less. While this was intended to facilitate overtaking in slow or stopped traffic, this could have unintended consequences -such as giving a legal defense for a 55 mph motorist who passes within inches of a 40 mph cyclist traveling downhill.
CABO representatives suggested the following wording to address the 15 mph differential and other concerns:
21750.1 (a) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the provisions of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, and the surface and width of the highway.
(b) In no event shall the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway pass at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator, except that the driver may pass the overtaken bicycle with due care at a distance of less than three feet at a speed not greater than 10 miles per hour, if in compliance with subdivision (a).
CABO also provided comments other sections of SB910, including the wording allowing motorists to cross a double yellow line to pass bicyclists (a concept which we support, but bringing the wording more in line with that of other states) and the fines for violations of CVC 21750.1.
Now that SB910 has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly, we hope it can be amended there to address our concerns.
(June 24 update: CABO Now SUPPORTS 3-Foot Passing Bill SB910)
your suggestion for paragraph a is vague, unenforceable and contradicted by paragraph b. Do lawyres get paid by the word? Paragraph b is clear and enforceable and frankly appears to be all the verbage required for this law.
Section (a) requires passing at a safe distance, section (b) requires a passing clearance of no less than 3 feet. These sections are complementary, not contradictory. Section (a) is required to cover those situations where more than 3 feet is necessary for safe passing, such as high speed differentials. If a police officer’s testimony of what constitutes 3 feet is acceptable to the courts, then certainly a police officer’s judgement of what constitutes a safe distance would also be acceptable.
I like what I am seeing and I want to commend CABO for your positive involvement in the passage of the “3 Feet Passing Law”.
Something like this language was included in the 6/22 amendment
June 22 Update: CABO Now SUPPORTS 3-Foot Passing Bill SB910: https://www.cabobike.org/2011/06/24/cabo-now-supports-3-foot-passing-bill-sb910/