Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Safe passage

One of the workers in the hair salon brought up the new 3-foot passing bill. I didn't even mention it. Surprising how much buzz it's generating.

As of today, in California, cars have to give bicycles at least 3 feet of clearance when they pass.

They're buzzing about it at the hair salon because I'm the one who rides a bike to get her hair cut. And everywhere in my neighborhood: groceries, the farmer's market, library, etc. Local trips=bike.

Interesting reactions:

  • Lots of people know about it. Because humans in cars are in a protective shell and normally we don't communicate on the road, most of the time I feel invisible. Funny (and hopeful) that my community is actually aware.
  • The hair salon people seem puzzled that anyone would actually need a law for this. They're puzzled because most drivers already know what to do - leave plenty of space when passing... 
  • A few drivers make a big deal out of not being able to measure out 3 feet. Look people, this is a fake problem. Try asking someone in one of the 21 other states that have enacted a similar law. Y'know, or look at a yardstick.

For people who don't think this will make a difference in how drivers treat humans on bikes, good news. This week I've noticed a difference. Maybe this is already good drivers doing more of the right thing. But they're leading the way so it becomes the norm.

Now, the penalties for not leaving 3 feet? They are laughable. That has to be fixed. No one should be able to kill a cyclist, then just write a check for the amount of the ticket. What was Governor Brown thinking?

But it's a start.

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