A new law will go into effect next year in order to create safer riding conditions for cyclists across California.
Assembly Bill 1371, or the “Three Feet for Safety Act,” will require all drivers to maintain at least a three foot buffer between them and people on bicycles when driving.
Over the past several years, there have been hundreds of cyclist vs. driver accidents across both California and the United States, ranging from minor bumps to multiple deaths. Many of these were caused by cars passing too close to the bicycles and accidentally running into them.
Unfortunately, this new law will be difficult to enforce, as a police officer must see the driver and the cyclist and determine if the three foot barrier has been broken.
“It’s an improvement if they can enforce it, but I don’t think that they can enforce it.” said senior Ryan Weideman, an avid cyclist who rides his road bike to school daily. “I think that no matter what, though, drivers are still going to drive recklessly around cyclists.”
Fines and penalties can be imposed on drivers who are caught passing, or ‘buzzing,’ as it is referred to. As a cyclist myself, I can say that the three foot barrier would be an improvement. Riding down the Turnpike hill to school in the mornings, I am constantly being buzzed by cars as well as stopped when they park in the designated bike lane.
Hopefully, this law, which goes into effect on September 16, 2014, will make the road safer for everyone and reduce the number of accidents that occur every year.