The folks at CABO tell me that the California Assembly voted this morning to approve the amendments to AB 1371, representative Steven Bradford’s “Three Feet for Safety” bill that mandates (sort of) a minimum 3 feet of clearance when a motor vehicle passes a bicycle. 51 voted in favor of the amended bill, while 23 representatives voted “no.”
The Assembly initially passed AB 1371 last May. The Senate passed this bill on Monday, August 26. Because the Senate version included amendments, the bill returned to the Assembly for that chamber’s approval of the Senate changes.
The bill as passed includes a “get out of jail free” card that essentially neuters to force of this act. It states that a driver can pass even if three feet isn’t available.
Subdivision (d): If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway.
What are you thinking right now? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.
Still, mainstream media coverage on this bill hasn’t mentioned this shortcoming, so maybe a few drivers will just remember the part about “three feet” and drive accordingly.
Okay, I’ll quit with the comedy routine now. Anybody who’s ticketed for violating this law can fight it and easily win with this subdivision (d) clause.
This subdivision (d) stinks, and I’m having a hard time getting too enthusiastic about it. Once this bill becomes law, any future chance to rectify it may prove difficult, so maybe we should wait until Brown terms out before trying again.
What do you think? Is the perfect the enemy of the good in this case?