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.


It’s bicyclists who should bear the brunt of responsibility. Far too many bicycle riders

are complete morons. They think they own the road when it is primarily gas tax

(read car drivers) which pay for the roads.


Wrong, Partially Right and Wrong.


Wrong. Partially Right. Mostly Wrong.


{The law should say “bicycles must stay 3 feet away from cars”.} How would that work? Bicycles are recognized as vehicles by the state vehicle code and as such are required to travel in the same direction as the motorized vehicle traffic. Bicycles travel at speeds between 5 – 12 mph, or possibly 15 – 20 mph by the physically elite cyclists, and motorized traffic travels at speeds of 55 (ha!) to as much as 80 mph on roads that allow bicycle traffic; how is a cyclist supposed to control how close the motorized vehicle comes to them? As much as most cyclists would prefer to travel as far away from the vehicle lanes as possible, most of the time what passes for a bike lane is crowded with various debris that can cause flat tires or even cause an accident by throwing a cyclist off their bike.

And please remember that if you are traveling in a auto at 60 mph, for each second you are moving, you are covering almost 100 feet, in 3 seconds you have gone the length of a football field; please, pay attention and don’t allow yourself to be distracted anytime you are approaching cyclists or pedestrians. You could lose your license, you could go to jail, they will most likely die.


One thing to consider…most traffic lanes, even on country roads, are about 11-12′ wide. if the bicyclist is on the roadway edge line as he should be, and the car drives with his left side as far to the left as possible without crossing the center line, and given that the average car is about 6′ wide, there is STILL 5′ between the car and the bicyclist. Bicyclists, stay on the white line, drivers, hug the center line, and the 3′ will take care of itself.


What, you want auto drivers to “hug” the center line and risk their lives so a bicyclist can ride in the auto right of way of the car paid for with gas tax money. I say TAX bicyclist and build their own bike paths and then we can all be safe.


You REALLY need to pay attention to what I am saying and stop freaking out. The bicyclists DO have a “legal” right to the roadway…the FAR right edge of the roadway. I am not saying they should be there or that it is safe. There will always be some idiot rider on these roads. I am saying that the driver should NOT make the issue worse! I was pointing out how going to the left side of your lane and the bicyclist staying at the ride side will STILL give a 3′ cushion. So you will be one of the morons that is afraid to go to the left a little bit because a car MIGHT come across and hit you? You should stop driving if you are that incompetent and paranoid. Seriously. You people act like I am advocating driving ENTIRELY to the left of a double yellow line over a blind crest or around a curve! I am through arguing this. Idiot bicyclists on narrow roads and paranoid drivers who can’t figure it out. We are indeed screwed!


Rare sense HAS to prevail here. Bicyclists need to pay attention and get the ipod earbuds out of their ears so they can hear traffic approaching behind them. They should stay off of hazardous roads but if they insist, ride single file ON the road edge and, if in a particularly dangerous section, get off their bikes and get off the road entirely until traffic passes. Drivers need to use common sense and slow to a speed that is reasonable and go around the bikes with enough room to be safe, even if it requires crossing the center line a little. Last, but not least, if, on the rare occasion a “violation” is actually witnessed by an officer, the officer needs to use his brain and consider the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law when enforcing violations.


Sorry, but no–I’m not gonna cross the center line “a little” if I can by any means avoid that. Of course I do not want to hit and kill a cyclist but this whole “share the road” mentality seems to overlook common sense: some roads simply are NOT designed to accommodate both cars and bikes.

I understand some of your points but maybe you haven’t driven on many of the back roads of Paso/Templeton/Atascadero. They’re simply not meant for bicycles and on the weekends–when wine-sipping tourists are in abundance–these cyclists are a menace. They ride side by side on roads that are ~not~ 11-12 feet wide as your previous post states.


Then you are making yourself part of the problem if you are not going to cross the line under any circumstances. You are the cause of gridlock. PLEASE pay attention to what my posts actually say. Those same back roads you speak of don’t have lines in many cases. When it is safe, go around the bicyclist. Use some rare sense and show some confidence in your driving.


I saw lots of cars going over the double yellow lines to stay away from bikes. Only a matter of time before there is a head on collision. The law should say “bicycles must stay 3 feet away from cars”.


AND, bicyclist should have to ride single file, and that is a bike law I could support. You want to chitty/chat, get off the bike, walk or go get a cup of coffee, sit and visit.

Also, the State should now assess roads that are inappropriate due to danger for bike riders. First would be Hwy 1 after Morro Bay, Hwy 41 (Morro Bay to Atascadero), etc. They should be posted “No Bicyclist Allowed” and they should be cited if caught riding.


Every Sunday morning a pack of cyclists go on a ride on Creston Rd, towards Creston. They frequently ride side by side and for Paso locals, you realize how utterly STUPID and dangerous this is.

Outside Paso city limits, Creston Rd is not a wide, bike-friendly road yet these 10-15 bikers just keep coming, every weekend, causing many near-misses as they go. It’s like some of these cyclists do not give a #$%( that cars are zooming by at 50 MPH, with almost no shoulder.

Sorry cyclists, but much of the North County is a rural area and sometimes it’s just impossible to safely “share the road” with you, especially when you won’t ride in a single-file line!

Stick to city streets with bike lanes and stop thinking you can cruise out into the North Country backroads where there’s barely enough road for a car, let alone a bike!

Oh, and BTW–last time I checked, a stop sign means STOP for cars and bikes yet soooo many of you cyclists just barely slow then go through intersections without bothering to stop.


Well you’re right about your last paragraph. (Of course I know drivers who treat stop signs the same way.) There is also a case for cyclists riding single-file on the right edge of the road in many instances. However, you, in your glassed-in, mobile isolation tank, do not have enough knowledge of the more subtle problems affecting cyclists’ safety to make a determination of when it is not advisable. Unless you are familiar with a section of road from a cyclists point of view, you need to leave that judgment to them or to a cop.

Much as you don’t want to hear it, bicycles have as much right to the road as motor vehicles with rare exceptions (controlled access freeways). The fact that you WANT to drive fast everywhere doesn’t give you the right to do so at a cyclists’ expense. You wouldn’t try to run a piece of slow-moving farm equipment off the road because it slowed you up — cyclists deserve the same respect even if they lack the physical presence to make such actions dangerous to you.

If you lack the self-discipline to control your need for speed when the situation calls for it, at least try to not take out your aggression on whatever cyclist you happen to see and save it for the real scofflaw ones that do run stop signs and go against the flow of traffic. Cyclists are as human as drivers (almost all over 16 y/o drive too) and they have their fair share of competent, law-abiding people as well as their share of idiots and jerks. Usually the latter are the ones that drivers notice.

While I probably drive 10 times as many miles per week as I ride, riding on the limited number of bike lanes for recreation and exercise doesn’t cut it. They often don’t get me where I want to go and are sometimes covered with debris or in such a state of disrepair as to make them impractical.

If you really want more segregation of bike traffic from autos, push transportation officials to make sure there is a maintained 4-6′ shoulder on every road. The costs would be prohibited but that is the price for a self-centered approach to transportation. A really thorough education program combined with an increased emphasis on law enforcement would reduce (but not eliminate) the incidences of poor cycling behavior.


So why can’t bicyclists get off their bikes on occasion and clean a portion of the roads they want to ride on. I have see bicyclists toss candy (energy) bars, water bottles, fruit cores and peelings as they ride.

We can all get along if we work together but I must say overall I think the bicyclist have the mindset that they are superior to cars. I am willing to share but I will not drive illegal, put myself in danger or give up my right to drive on the road in safety for a bicyclist. Sorry, so I will toot, honk and endure the rude conduct of the bicyclist. If they had a license plate we could report them to law enforcement.


Share the road, indeed.

The operation of cars pays for the road, and yet the bicyclists have usurped a portion of the road. Where’s the fairness in that?


Well, to be fair….most, if not all cyclists, own vehicles and pay their fees also.


But the fees/taxes they pay for associated with their cars (particularly fuel tax) cover the costs associated with their cars usage of the roadway. They don’t pay “extra” to take over three feet of the lane, do they?


Cyclists cause virtually no road maintenance expenses. Those are mostly generated by a combination of vehicle weight and speed and those factors are insignificant with bikes. That is why commercial trucks pay much heavier vehicle registration fees. If my full-size pickup is not on the road because I am riding somewhere instead, I am not getting a reduction in my DMV fees to compensate for it. Since heavier vehicles almost always use more fuel/mile, the gas taxes used for road maintenance are also generally a fair way to cover the costs.

Road systems are built with the intent to provide a transportation corridor for all citizens and much of the cost comes from general tax funds which everyone pays. All citizens have an equal right to the road regardless of their choice of transportation method. Traffic laws exist to minimize conflicts between road users not to give special rights to one type.


So, the cost of the pavement, type of pavement (remember the thousands recently spent on the road up HWY 1 that the bicyclist didn’t like, the stripping of the lands, the enforcement and accidents don’t cost anything. See, the mentality is just plain missing. Must be the cute pants squeezing those balls!

There are always cost for everything numb nuts!


The only folks who will profit from this new law are the attorneys.


That may be true but only because it seems to have too much vague wording and it leaves too much to the judgment of all parties referenced. The concept is not a bad one and putting it into law should at least raise awareness among those who would rather not think about it.


I’m going to have to research this, but on the surface it sounds fair…. I do believe the 3″ painted white stripe trumps this 3′ law or it should.