This is the moment all bicycle advocates have been waiting for- after years of joined effort by advocates, the “Three Feet for Safety Act” signed by Governor Jerry Brown finally came into effect September 16, 2014. This act ensures that motor vehicle drivers give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing them. The following are the newly implemented rules in the “Three Feet for Safety Act”:
21760. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Three Feet for Safety Act.
(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the highway.
(c) A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.
(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.
(e) (1) A violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty–five dollars ($35).
(2) If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d), a two –hundred–twenty–dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that driver.
(f) This section shall become operative on September 16, 2014.
Added Sec. 3, Ch. 331, Stats. 2013. Effective September 16, 2014.
As a rider and supporter of the biking community, Shaana Rahman anticipates that the “Three Feet for Safety Act” will aid in making San Francisco a truly bike-friendly city.