I am not at Interbike and California 3 foot law

My Instagram feed is full of photos from the huge bicycle industry show at Las Vegas. I see a lot of interesting new stuff, but I’m not there.

Read below the striped socks dude for bicycle news, both local and far flung.

Striped socks on the Guadalupe River Trail  #sanjose #cycling

California’s Three Foot Law takes effect next Tuesday. As word gets around, several people all around the state are complaining in online newspaper forums and various other social media sites about the new law.

Some of my cycling friends believe a three-foot law unnecessarily antagonizes motorists. Personally, I’ve noticed a real difference in passing behavior. There are still the occasional aggressive close-passing morons, but many people seem almost timid in how they pass me, even when I’m riding in lanes that are clearly wide enough to share. It seems the media attention has worked to effectively education drivers that they should give a little bit of space when passing.

Still, there’s a lot of hyperventilating from motorists who believe congestion caused by cyclists is bad, while congestion caused by cars is good. This general perception was summed up years ago by John Forester in the definition of his Cyclist Inferiority Complex: “The cyclist who rides in traffic will either delay the cars, which is a Sin, or, if the cars don’t choose to slow down, will be crushed, which is Death, and the Wages of Sin is Death.” Barb Chamberlain of Washington Bikes (nee Bicycle Alliance of Washington), however, reminds that our expectation of speedy, free-flowing traffic isn’t a natural born right.

More bike news

58 year old cyclist killed by a Honda Accord on San Juan Grade Road near Crazy Horse Canyon Road, Salinas, CA. This is not a shareable road, but the media reports this as a suicide swerve. With condolences to the cyclist’s family.

Eiry Bartlett was just riding along in the wide shoulder of Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz when she was rear-ended by a 2013 Ford F-150 when the unnamed driver drifted into the shoulder. Bartlett, who was cycling from Vancouver, BC to San Ysidro, was airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. She was treated and released; the bike is toast. Unlike the case in Monterey County above, investigators don’t believe the driver’s story that the cyclist mysteriously and suddenly swerved in front of the truck. Well wishes for Bartlett.

“Sheryl’s” har har.

Video from road.cc: What Apple’s new watch means for cyclists

Discussion on those orange pedestrian crossing flags to help as you play Frogger. These flags and other pedestrian safety aids are used because motorists are an uncontrollable, unthinking force of nature, same as divers using shark cages.

More shark cages: The Protective Headgear for Cyclists Aged Fourteen Years and Under (Research) Bill.

Bike thefts down 50% after implementation of free bicycle registration program at Temple University.

One less car?

Bamboo bicycles benefit working women in Ghana

Women cycling in Afghanistan.

Bicycle Magazine on LA Bike Train. Reminder: the next San Jose Bike Train happens next Wednesday morning, 8 AM from Diridon Station.

Three Foot Law

26 American states now have a three foot law on the books; Pennsylvania has a four foot passing law. What’s your experience with a Three Foot Law and passing in your area?


  1. I like the 3ft law but think it might be a distraction from getting motorists to obey existing laws on traffic lights, stop signs, right turn on red, etc. What if cyclists energy had been put into getting cops to write tickets and municipalities to install TL cameras, speed cameras and the like. I think we would be safer even without the 3 ft law if existing laws were followed.

  2. I read somewhere that when asked how much distance someone should pass a cyclist, most people said 5-10ft. This scares me if people then think that actually less is okay.

  3. I wish that they had allowed motorists to cross a double yellow line in the 3′ law. One of the roads that I commute on is 48′ wide, with parking on both sides and a double yellow line down the middle (Los Padres in Santa CLara). If I am positioned 3′ from the parked cars (barely ouside the door zone), a car cannot legally pass me on this road, even though at the time I commute on the road, there is hardly any traffic. Allow motorists to cross the double yellow lines, or get rid of double yellow lines on neighborhood roads!

  4. I’m incredibly thankful they *didn’t* allow us drivers to break double yellow. That would *really* become damned if you do, damned if you don’t for us. Far better if CALTRANS marked “bicycle passing zones”. I will not break double yellow for anything, unless there were some serious emergency. Even when it’s “relatively safe” you’re serving yourself up on a platter legally if there is any sort of accident.

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