Assembly Bill a victory for California cyclists

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MORE SPACE: Cyclists are now entitled to three feet of space thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown's signing of AB 1371. PHOTO BY KEVIN FLESICHMAN
MORE SPACE: Cyclists are now entitled to three feet of space thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 1371.
PHOTO BY KEVIN FLESICHMAN

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1371 into law which will require drivers to give three feet when trying to pass a cyclist.

Currently existing laws only require drivers to pass while keeping at a “safe distance.”

The new law establishes the distance at three feet.

AB 1371 was authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford of Gardena. Its official name is the “Three Feet for Safety Act.”

Delta College Student Matt White Sr., an active bicyclist, agrees with the new law because he said it makes him feel safer “from getting hit by a motorist who happens to be driving a little to close to the bike lane.”

White added that this law has been long overdue because Brown has vetoed this bill four times already in the past.

Violations are punishable by a $35 base fine, which comes to $154 with court fees and taxes, according to the California Bicycle Coalition, also known as CalBike.

Drivers who collide while cyclists and injure them while violating the law will be subject to a $220 fine.

“Bicycling is safer than most people think, but obviously it is not safe enough,” said Dave Snyder, CalBike’s executive director in a media release sent out Sept. 23. “Governor Brown has taken a big step toward improving safety on our roadways by signing this bill.”