CA Senate Passes 3-Foot Passing Bill. Will Gov Brown Sign It This Time?

Close passes like this one on Market Street would be explicitly illegal under the three-foot passing law, which is already in place in 21 states. Flickr photo: ## Masoner / Cyclelicious##

The three-foot passing bill for bicyclists sailed through the California Senate today, reports the California Bicycle Coalition on Twitter:

Senate just voted 27-6 to approve SB 1464. No debate or opposition! 6 Republicans voted YES.

The bill still needs to make its way through the State Assembly, but all signs point to little opposition.

The real question remaining is whether Governor Jerry Brown will veto it again. Brown vetoed the previous version of the proposal, SB 910, last October due to opposition from the California Highway Patrol and the American Automobile Association over hypothetical traffic congestion caused by cars slowing down to pass bicycles.

However, the language in SB 1464 is tailored to address Brown’s concerns, so hopes are high for California to catch up with the 21 other states that have similar laws.

Enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend — we’ll see you back here Tuesday.

  • What changes were made to SB 1464 to address the governor’s problems with the project?

  • I added a link, here:

  • This exception:

    (d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c) of this section or paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 21460 due to a substandard width lane, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 21460, or other traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, and surface and width of the highway, and pass at a distance of less than three feet in a manner that does not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle and that provides the maximum feasible distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle and its operator.

    is a bit troubling.  It should be more specific.

  • maaaty

    Anyone know what the law is on space allowance when passing stationery law enforcement vehicles alongside highways, either in CA or other jurisdictions?

  • maaaty

     Arrrgh..  “stationary”

  •  I agree this language is troubling. Any car that absolutely has to pass within three feet of a bicyclists should be going quite slowly–less than 20 mph  If the law doesn’t specify the speed but leaves it up to the car driver to decide what is reasonable and prudent, then someone driving an SUV who has never ridden a bike in street traffic may assume blowing by a bicycle at 40mph six inches from the bike rider’s elbow is perfectly fine. (After all, people do this on Fell Street all the time.)  The law should at least mention that the closer your car is to a bicyclist, the slower you should be going.

  • Liberty Protected

    If a crossing car the center divider line to give 3′ buffer seems risky, this could cause a head on collision and take many lives. Some areas have curves on roadways such as Jackson California and the curves don’t allow cars to safely offer the 3′ without head on collsions

  •  Then you wait.

  • Librarybike

    The sb1464 bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday! 9 to 3 vote. Now off to the Assembly floor, and then to Governor Brown. We will have more protections under the law, better yet the culture of passing too close will slowly change.

  • The bill has made it through the assembly & hopes are that it will pass the governor this time. There need to be clearer laws that state what a ‘safe’ passing distance is.

  • Gneiss

    Just like with any other slower moving traffic (farm vehicles, buses, construction equipment) you wait.  The only reason why your experiences with cyclists are different than these other slower moving vehicles, is that they are smaller and easier to ‘bully’ off the road.

    Also, if you are driving around blind curves faster than you can stop in the curve, then you are driving too fast.  You have a responsibility to safeguard the lives of *allI* users of public roadways, not just other people in cars.     

  • Tuolumnejim

    If there’s to be minimum distance between a vehicle and bicycle then bicycles need to be restricted to roads that actal bike lanes and stay off of rural non bike lane roads, seems simple and fair.