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.


Another useless law, by useless politicians.


What is the purpose of the bike lane? Should we simply request that it be doubled in size in order to accommodate this new law?

Perhaps a new law requiring bikes to be registered or licensed, much like motor vehicles with an associated fee would help pay for the addition, and or the maintenance of existing bike lanes. There is more to “sharing the road” than simply riding.


Excellent idea!!!! Remember the days when bicycles had to be registered at the police station?. Whats the point of a plate on a car? Why of course to make us pay registration and provide a legible ID so when laws are violated we can be ticketed. On any given day everybody see’s endless law breakers on bicycles regardless of them being required to adhere to motor vehicle laws. After all when was the last time you saw gas saving motorcyclists riding 5 scoots wide so they could talk about how their new tights feel whilst caressing their nuts…hum…NEVER, cause its illegal. Why should bicycles be any different? When bicyclist exhibit this display of willful violation of state,county and local laws what better way to ID them then to have a nice big license plate hanging out back so they can ID’ed and reported or turned in. After all its all about municipal revenue and saving ourselves from ourselves isnt it? Just think how many dollars can be collected. Shoot it might even offset the shortfall of fuel tax dollars from all the gas savers on the road around Ca.


This idea has been around for decades and wherever it has been considered seriously, the conclusion has been that it is not worth the cost or trouble to do so. Enforcing a bike/rider license law would be prohibitively expensive and I doubt that most people at this site would be willing to take a tax hike to cover those costs.

As for the old days, registering bikes was not mandatory everywhere and not even an option in many places. The primary purpose was to aid in recovery of stolen bikes and most places that had the program abandoned it because of inefficiency.


When was cost ever a consideration when it comes to government ideas or regs? Seriously, consider literally every other states road tax, registration fees and the rest and you’d think Ca roads are paved with gold. Fact is regulations from ours truly (moonbeam & Co) has made the cost of building in Ca off the outrageous with permits,fees and material costs because of environmental regulations. But you are right about the cost, however its your problem as a bicyclist to pay not motorists. If your willing and able to pay as much or more for a bicycle than the cars most own, whats another couple hundred bucks a month in taxes. Own up spandex boy, its the right thing to do.

Ted Slanders

The ONLY way to make bicylicing safer is to keep them off of the asphalt roads that were built for automobiles in the first place when the automobile took over the bicycle and the horse drawn wagons!

How many times have you encountered a “pack” of these fools on a mountain road taking up the entire lane doing around 10 mph on a 45 mph road, and where they refuse to move to the side to let 10-15 cars pass them? The “Timmy Tenspeeds” would rather just keep chugging along as slow as humanly possible, no doubt smugly smiling as they know they’re imposing their selfish whims and desires upon the people at their mercy behind them.


In California, the vehicle code states “Bicyclists must obey the same rules and regulations as the motorists.” Therefore, if they can’t travel at the speed posted for said highway with no bike lanes, then they shouldn’t be able to travel on that particular highway, period! Maybe this will be the next law put into action not only for the bicyclists safety, but for the automobiles’sr access to the posted speed of a highway?!

Besides, when was it ever proposed that when riding a bike on our California roads, that you had to look like a cast member of a gay musical on Broadway? The brightly multi-colored tight spandex suits, the fairy shoes, the cute little Mercury helmets and such, sucking on a small bottle of water, subjectively make this endeavor questionable to say the least. Seemingly proving this point even further, is why do their seats have to be so skinny and “hard?”

Let these wannabe Tour de France cyclists obey the rules of the road as the automobile does, and then we might show them more respect for their sharing the road with us and their very questionable attire.



I am going to take a chance and guess that this post was serious and not one of your frequent satire pieces. (Beware of Poe’s Law.)

How many times has a self-centered driver been in too much of a hurry to slow down for a tenth of a mile and pass where it is not safe then come back in a squeeze play when oncoming traffic suddenly appears over the crest of a hill or around a blind corner?

There are no minimum speed limits on roads except for controlled access freeways because they are for the benefit of all citizens not just those who happen to be driving at the moment. If you want to go fast, save it for the freeway. If that doesn’t get you where you want to go, well guess what? Cyclists face the same situation on other roads.

It is probably a waste of time given the personalities of some many commenting on this website but selfishness is not a virtue in drivers any more than it is in cyclists. Try to mellow out and be considerate when driving — a driver’s license is not a pass for speed or road rage.

As for your critique of spandex, are you, a godly man, so worried about your latent sexuality that you can’t abide people who dress in skin-tight clothes? While I don’t often wear it, there are reasons other than making a fashion statement for wearing it and even better reasons for those other items of apparel and the skinny bike seats that have you so flustered.

Ted Slanders


Relative to your misinformed notion that there is no minimum speed on our highways, I disagree with you in principle, and the California DMV disagrees with you with fact.

V C Section 22400 Minimum Speed Law

Minimum Speed Law

22400. (a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation, because of a grade, or in compliance with law. No person shall bring a vehicle to a complete stop upon a highway so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the stop is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

I am sorry if I hit a nerve regarding the flamboyant clothing cyclists have to wear to try in vain in emulating Lance Armstrong, but I am not the one flustered by mentioning this fact, but the riders who wear such attire should be!


Only in the land of fruits and nuts would a law like this pass. Now we will have Armstrong wannabes in their sassy spandex riding 3 abreast causing traffic jams on roads they don’t belong on.

Truckers who are paid by the load are gonna love this one – good luck Lance.


Trying to ride down the winding country road leading to our home is fraught with danger to both cyclists and motorists, thanks to the herds of cyclists that MUST right 3 to 5 abreast, taking up 2/3 of the road.


Lots of good posts so far. I think a FAR better idea would have been to ban bicyclist from riding on any road without a three foot shoulder. And when a three foot or wider shoulder exists, THEY have to ride at least three feet to the right of the line. I see problems coming with this law. One moron on hwy 1 north of ragged point WON’T swing a little wide to go around a bicyclist and there will be a line of traffic from Gorda to Carmel stuck behind him going 5 mph.


Most of the bicyclist antics described by the posters here are already illegal. It’s really quite simple: bicyclists have the same rights AND responsibilities as cage drivers. Sorry, folks, sometimes I don’t like it either but bicyclists have the same right to use the road as you in your obnoxious pigmobile SUV. I too get offended when a group of bicyclists take over a road riding 3 abreast or whatever. And you know if some twit on a bicycle runs a light and t-bones your car, it’s going to make your life miserable too. But like it or not, bicyclists have a RIGHT to use the road; and, they are helping all of us by not using fuel and producing much less wear on the road. That does not excuse their behavior, however.

The solution? Aggressive enforcement of traffic laws by the cops. Almost every day I see apparently immortal student types sailing thru stop signs and burning red lights. After a lifetime of motorcycle riding (45 years of riding and counting) I cannot fathom bicyclist’s apparent disregard for their own safety. Kind of like those bonehead young people that cross a street with moving traffic without even a glance at your rapidly approaching vehicle. They just know you are going to stop, right? And then along comes Tina Texter in her BMW SUV (standard Poly student vehicle) and we have another Darwin award winner….


QUOTING CATDUDE: “And then along comes Tina Texter in her BMW SUV (standard Poly student vehicle)…”


FYI, for Ag Science and Horticulture students, in my experience attending CalPoly, the standard vehicle is a white pickup.


QUOTING CAT DUDE: ” But like it or not, bicyclists have a RIGHT to use the road..”

Along with rights comes responsibilities. Cyclists should be required to obtain a license (similar to a driver’s license) to ride the road.


They have responsibilities already. There is just inadequate enforcement. The idea of licensing cyclists is problematic because of the age span of cyclists — especially at the young end. I wouldn’t be opposed to requiring licenses for those operating on heavily-traveled roads but there are a lot of logistical problems involved. This idea has been around for decades and wherever it has been considered seriously, the conclusion has been that it is not worth the trouble to do so.


When are cyclists going to be required to get a license to operate on the roads?

Every vehicle that uses the road requires a license and insurance, why not the cyclists?


To insure safety of cyclists, CA motorists have due authority to honk their horn prior to passing cyclists, in accordance to Vehicle Code Section 27001:

“The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.”


Hell’s Bells, I end up doing that 50% of the time, anyway.


If you do this with cyclists, you may well cause an accident. They don’t have a layer of glass and steel to dampen the sound and horns are often loud enough to cause a quick jerk to either side by the rider. While it may give you some feeling of satisfaction, is it really worth having to go through an accident investigation and report as some cyclist gets hauled off to the hospital or morgue?

Also, your interpretation of “when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation” could easily vary from that of a cop, lawyer or jury.


I would like to see some law enforcement officials/officers weigh in on this. I feel that if we are to share the road we are going to have to share the responsibility of reporting cyclists that are breaking the laws or causing a hazard, I for on will be more inclined to use 911 to report offending cyclists, for their safety of course