Should it Be Law That Cars Have to Give Cyclists 3 Feet of Passing Room?

A bill has passed the State Senate requiring automobiles to pass no closer than three feet to bicyclists. If signed into law, could this prevent more cyclist/vehicle accidents? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.


In the wake of several vehicle collisions that have left bicyclists dead or injured on the Peninsula recently, legislators have proposed SB 1464.

Last year, a 64-year-old man died from injuries when a moving vehicle on the Bayfront Expressway (Highway 84) at Chilco Street.

Just this week, , and died.

Especially in this area, the co-existence of cyclists and motorists , as San Mateo Patch columnist Denise Nelson has discussed on many an occasion.

The proposed state law would make it a legal requirement for automobiles to give bicyclists a minimum clearance of three feet when passing.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has made this announcement supporting the bill, which was authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and co-sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles.

SB 1464 has passed the state Senate and is up for a vote by the Assembly Friday.

PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - How would you vote if it were up to you?

Vote in our poll below, and share your thoughts in the comments.


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billdsd August 25, 2012 at 06:35 AM
"Extra 3 feet" vs ZERO? Do you really think that it's OK to pass within zero distance of a bicyclist? Yes, you are expected to slow down and wait behind the bicyclist until a safe and legal place to pass presents itself. The good news here is that this bill will allow you to legally cross a solid double yellow when it's safe to do so in order to leave 3 feet of space. What do you do when there's a loaded 18 wheeler going slow in front of you? A bicyclist is no different.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 06:38 AM
I don't risk getting doored. I maintain at least 5' from parked cars at all times. Yes, that means that I'm usually taking up the whole lane when I'm riding near parked cars. CVC 21202(a)(3) exempts bicyclists from the requirement to keep far right for ANY condition which makes it unsafe to keep far right.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Motorists don't pass each other within 3 feet, but for some reason some feel that it's OK to pass within a foot of a bicyclist. I've never understood this.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 06:43 AM
@Bren: I have a few questions for you: 1. Do you seriously only drive on roads that have only a single lane in each direction with no passing possible? 2. Have you never had to slow down or move over for a bus or a garbage truck or a loaded 18 wheeler or an RV or a delivery truck or someone slowing to turn or someone slowing and stopping to park? 3. Is there really no possibility of you slowing down for a few seconds until there's a safe place to pass? In reality it is almost always easy to just move over to pass a bicyclist with plenty of clearance. I've driven well over a half million miles in the last 33 years and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been stuck behind a bicyclist for more than 10 seconds.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 06:44 AM
Just because you think that you know what's right, it does not mean that you do.


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