The California Senate will vote Thursday on Senate Bill 1464 — the 3 feet passing for cyclists bill introduced by Long Beach Senator Alan Lowenthal and cosponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles with support from every bike advocacy group in the state of California.
SB 1464 would allow drivers to cross a double yellow centerline, when safe, in order to give a bicyclist at least three feet of clearance. Where three feet is not available, a driver can only pass by slowing down and giving as much space as feasible. The 3-foot requirement would not apply where bicyclists ride in a bike lane or on the shoulder.
The bill was approved 8-0 by the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee last month. The bill faces a June 1 deadline to win approval in the Senate.
Similar legislation passed last year was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown over a provision requiring drivers to slow to 15 MPH if they could not give a bicyclist three feet of clearance when passing. This provision is not part of SB 1464.
By creating a buffer around bicyclists riding on the road, SB 1464 can help reduce fatal collisions and dangerous falls, thus giving more would-be bicyclists the confidence to ride more often. In addition to health and environmental benefits, increased bicycle ridership has been shown to reduce the incidence of all types of bike-motor vehicle collisions.
So far some 1,800 Californians have contacted their State Senator to urge a yes vote on SB 1464, an unprecedented response to this kind of legislation.
More info at California Bicycle Coalition, including details on how you can contact your state Senator.