CABO letter to Governor, 3′ passing

September 18, 2011
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SB 910 (Lowenthal) – SUPPORT ?
Dear Governor Brown:

I am writing on behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations to ask that you sign Senator Lowenthal’s Senate Bill 910 into law. With the enactment of SB 910 and with wider public recognition of what is safe and appropriate motor vehicle driver’s behavior in the presence of bicyclists, everyone can benefit.

We expect that this clearer statement of appropriate passing distances by motorists of bicyclists, replacing the subjective guidance in existing law, will better inform people about unsafe passing and encourage more and safer bicycling – an appropriate goal toward providing a cleaner environment, safer traffic operations, and healthier Californians.

We consider the 3′ passing bill, SB 910, as a good and appropriate step toward wider recognition and hopefully, acceptance that bicyclists have, per California Vehicle Code 21200, the same rights and same responsibilities for operation in traffic as drivers of motor vehicles.

Our efforts toward this recognition has also been helped recently by Senator Kehoe’s significant support of a Statewide Bicycling Task Force; by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner Joe Farrow for his leadership and Capitan Avery Browne’s involvement in reviewing our bicyclist training program materials; by Assemblymember Toni Atkins AB 345 encouraging the Department of Transportation to include representatives of alternative transportation – walking, bicycling and transit – as members of the California Traffic Control Devices Committee; and by Senior Law Enforcement Consultant Karen
Lozito and the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commissions’ agreement to expand POST training for traffic enforcement officers regarding lawful bicycling as of July 2011.

Through our meetings with CHP trainers, we have confirmed that the bicycling advocates across the State who are using the League of American Bicyclist’s bicycling education programs are applying the same interpretation and understanding of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists as the CHP trainers. We are hoping that the newly expanded training through POST will help make accurate
information more readily available, accepted, and used by all traffic enforcement personnel in California – traffic officers, judges, and someday, juries.

We will be making further efforts to encourage more and safer bicycling through our education and advocacy efforts; especially toward clarification of a Californian’s lawful rights, responsibilities, and best practices for bicycling on public roadways. Specifically we will be addressing California Vehicle Code 21202 – often summarized and widely misunderstood as requiring bicycling to occur only “out of
the way” on the margins of public roadways, rather than properly sharing the right of way.
We are ready and eager to address these and other issues when the legislature returns in 2012.
Thanks in advance for your support, signing, and enactment of SB 910 toward a safer travel environment in California.
Jim Baross, CABO President
Cc: Commissioner Joe Farrow
Senator Alan Lowenthal
Senator Christine Kehoe
Assemblymember Toni Atkins
CABO Board
Alan Wachtel, California Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair
Penny Gray, Caltrans Bicycle Program Manager
James Lombardo Sr, CABO Lobbyist