Today’s Headlines

  • Safe Streets Advocates Rally at City Hall (SFBay, Goebel, SFGate, NBC), Call for Tour Driver Regs (CBS)
  • Passage of Props A and B to Boost Muni; Prop L Backer “Not Surprised” it Failed (SF Examiner)
  • Muni Buses Suffered $140,000 in Damage From World Series Rioters (SF Examiner)
  • Transbay Transit Center Construction Clears Ground Level (CBS)
  • 3-Ft Bike Passing Law Said to Spread Awareness in Marin, Has Been Used in Two SF Cases (Marin IJ)
  • People Behaving Badly: SF Neighbors Paint Fake Red Curb Zones Near Private Driveways
  • Flywheel Coffee to Pursue Parklet on Stanyan (HL);  Castro Merchants Protect Rainbow Crosswalks (HL)
  • Draft EIR Released for Potrero Public Housing Redevelopment Set to Build a New Street Grid (Curbed)
  • GG Bridge Movable Barrier Work Squeezes Traffic (NBC); Wrong-Way Driver on Bay Bridge (SFBay)
  • East Bay BRT Gets Federal Grant (KTVU, SFGate); Oakland Airport Connector to Open Nov 22 (ABC)
  • Caltrain Electrification Delayed Two Years to 2021; Costs Go Up (Green Caltrain, SM Daily, Examiner)
  • Half Moon Bay Residents Protest Extended Closure of Corroded Bike/Ped Bridge (SF Examiner)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Chris J.

    Regarding the 3-foot law, I remember an earlier article quoting police officers saying that it “can’t be enforced.”

    Last week an idea occurred to me. In the same way that we have “radar guns” for measuring the speed of vehicles remotely, it seems like it would be possible to have a device that can measure the distance between two objects remotely. Theoretically, it seems that even a photo taken at the right angle could suffice — combined with knowing the make and model of the car. Knowing the make and model of the car would let you look up the width of the car, which could then be used to determine the scale of the photo (three feet would be some fraction of the car’s width, etc).

    Alternatively, radar could be used to determine how far away the objects are. Has this idea ever been suggested in the context of the 3-foot law, and is anything like this already out there?

  • Flubert

    It’s not that simple. A police radar speed gun works because it only has two objects to work with – the gun and the vehicle. Since the operator knows the distance to the vehicle, the speed can be computed via the Doppler effect.

    But in your case, there are three objects – the radar source and the two moving objects. That makes the technology much more complex, and you might need to triangulate to get a true measure, meaning two sources.

    Likewise, a photograph would only provide a two-dimensional representation of a dynamic three-dimensional situation and I would expect a lot of challenges to any ticket issued thereby.

    Now, a policeman on a bike could use a simpler device to detect the distance of a passing vehicle, and then report that to a police car ahead. But that’s a lot of work and I think the populace might question the use of that many resources for a low-level citation.

  • Chris J.

    From the right angle (e.g. directly behind the car and bicycle), even a simple photo could robustly determine the distance. It doesn’t matter that the situation is “dynamic.”

  • njudah

    L got its ass kicked and kicked hard. Deal with it, losers!

  • thielges

    I’m not sure why officers have claimed that the law is unenforceable. There are other moving violations that are somewhat subjective like reckless driving. Police officers are comfortable writing tickets for reckless behavior that endangers other motorists. This three foot law is just a new law limited to reckless aggression directed towards bicyclists.

    Why do we even need an objective measurement if the officer’s judgement is considered valid?

    In practice the 3′ law is applied in the cases cited above because there was car->bike contact and therefore proof that the 3′ margin was violated.

  • dat

    I’m willing to bet that if L had gone the other way, even just by 51% in favor of it, we’d go check out another local blog to see the Drudge siren flashing with the word “Mandate” under it in 36 point type, in all caps, italicised in red and underlined. All in comic sans of course.