California drivers to face fines for coming close to bicyclists

September 16, 2014

bicycles-70aMotorists in California must now stay three feet away from bicyclists when passing them on the road or risk receiving traffic tickets.

A new state law takes effect Tuesday, which allows officers to cite those who do not obey the distance requirement. Drivers may only come within three feet of bicyclists when passing them if there is no more space available and no danger is present.

“Motorists are reminded to pay close attention as the school year approaches and exercise caution when they see bicyclists on the road,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow to the Sacramento Bee. “Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place.”

In 2012, 153 bicyclists were killed in California, according to state data. That figure marked a 7 percent increase from 2011.



  1. Ugluk says:


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    • kelvarnson says:

      Immature little boy in his truck. People are SO BRAVE when they are driving vehicles that allow them a fast getaway. What would have made this video priceless is if the driver suffered some sort of mechanical issue and had to pull over. What’s worse than getting your ass beaten? Having it done by a bunch of guys wearing Spandex.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. kelvarnson says:

    Making documented threats on the Internet about what you will do to a cyclist that slows you down a little? Did you really think this through?

    Like it or not, cyclists have just as much legal right to be there as motorists, regardless of who pays the taxes on the road. I too sometimes get annoyed when I get slowed down by cyclists, but I don’t get all emotional about it, and I certainly don’t consider running them over.

    The ability to get from point A to point B at 60 mph is a modern convenience, it is not an inalienable right. When you encounter someone who chooses a different mode of transportation that happens to limit them to 20 mph, your rights don’t just automatically trump theirs.

    Do you run with your shopping cart so you can beat that slow old lady to the checkout line? No? You only act like a jerk when you’re in the safe confines of your car, with nobody watching, and the ability to make a quick escape?

    Grow up, chill out, take a deep breath, and invest the ten or twenty seconds to slow down and give cyclists safe passage (even if they happen to be self-entitled idiots). It will enhance and extend your own life.

    (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
    • kayaknut says:

      With the “legal right” comes the legal responsibility and many cyclists ignore this.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        That is true but can you tell which cyclists accept the responsibility and which do not when you are out driving? It is not your job as a driver to make that determination and punish those who ride irresponsibly. I have no objection to stronger enforcement of laws regarding cyclists. However, given your past history of objections to tax increases and increased government size (necessary to achieve that,) I bet that you do.

        (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
    • Perspicacious says:

      Yes, and their “legal” right can get them killed. I can hear it now at their funeral, “He was a good man, he was being legal when he was killed.”

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        Your legal right to drive a car can get you killed too. If everyone obeys the laws — including this new one — the odds of death or serious injury are substantially lower. You are not going to get bikes banned from the highways anymore than the anti-gun types are going to get guns banned from the forests.

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    • ironyman2000 says:

      Yes I have hurried my cart to the counter to beat the old lady. Better for the 2 of us.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  3. SLOBIRD says:

    Just put a Special Tax on the sale of every bike, helmet, spandex outfit, tires, rims, tren chargers, and all other related goods for bicyclists. That tax could then help build paths and road ways. That tax could be collected at the time of the sale. I have to buy a special tax for my tire, oil, etc.

    Only sounds fair!

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      The only “special tax” that you pay on any auto-related accessory other than gas and registration is a recycling fee to discourage illegal dumping and deal with it when it happens. Cyclists don’t have a noticeable problem with these particular issues but could be taxed extra for the same reasons if they do in the future.

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  4. SLOBIRD says:

    There is a great commentary in the Sacramento Bee today (Wednesday, Sept 17) on the editorial page by Dan Walters which I think expresses all our concerns and comments regarding “Bicyclists need to do their part…”.

    He ends the commentary with the following directed to bicyclists::

    “With privileges come responsibilities, both legal and financial. And receiving respect means acting like you deserve it.”

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      I do when I ride. All I ask is that all the impatient motorists don’t take their frustrations out on me by classing me with the irresponsible cyclists. The same goes for most of my cycling friends who also ride responsibly. (I try not to associate with the irresponsible ones when I ride.)

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  5. LameCommenter says:

    As expected, as everyday, on the first day of this law I was obstructed by cyclists riding two abreast down LOVR, so they could chat. (In an area with inadequate extra width to make chatting make sense).

    Just another feel good law for most to abuse or ignore. Sure, I believe in courtesy and cycled a LOT when younger. I do what many drivers do, sure, when there are zero cars on the road, cross the double to give wide berth to a cyclist(s) I am overtaking at 50+ net MPH, show courtesy to them, but because cyclists can frequently be thoughtless and break rules, this law will mostly be just another fluff in the bucket of the nanny state.

    (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
  6. SamLouis says:

    More nanny-state bull manure! Did you get bored and pass another crap law?

    For years I have gladly crossed over center lines to give wide birth to cyclists — typically riding 2-3 abreast on LVR. NO MORE! I’ll stay to the left as best I can but I WILL NOT cross the center line anymore.

    Stay the hell out of my way cyclists or deal with the consequences.

    (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      I can understand not wanting to cross over center lines unless it is obviously safe to do so. However, if the cyclist(s) are riding legally and you cause an accident because you won’t slow down until it is safe to pass, you are the guilty party and you better hope I am not on the jury if you go to trial. You don’t have special rights to travel roads at whatever speed you want if it is not safe for other road users no matter what they use and what speed they travel. Get over your sense of entitlement.

      (I am disappointed in you — based on some of your previous posts on other subjects, I thought you were a better person than that.)

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