On September 16th The San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition held an event to inform the press and general public about California’s new bicycle-passing law, “Three Feet for Safety”. The law states that motorists must maintain a distance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.
California joins 24 other states with similar laws. According to Dan Rivoire, Executive Director of The SLO County Bicycle Coalition, “Bicyclists have a legal right to be on the road in California, even on streets that don’t have bike lanes. More and more people of all ages are discovering that bicycles are an easy, healthy, economical and fun way to get around, especially for short trips. Bike riders are vulnerable when motorists pass too closely. This new law is a reminder that sometimes motorists will need to slow down and wait to pass a bicyclist until it is safe to do so.”
Helping Rivoire spread the word were members of the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. After officers discussed the law with local media, a SLOPD patrol car demonstrated the correct distance to give to bikes by driving past Vanessa Amerson, the Bicycle Coalition’s Interim Education Director, as she rode her bike down Pacific Street in front of Bicycle Coalition headquarters in San Luis Obispo.
Some things to remember:
- To help estimate what three feet is, motorists can think of how much room they give when parking in order to fully open their door without hitting another parked car or a wall.
- The law applies on all roads: those with bike lanes as well as those with no bike lane.
If you would like more information or have questions about the new law, please contact the Bicycle Coalition at 805-547-2055.