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Do Drivers Know to Give Cyclists a Three-Foot Buffer when Passing?

On September 16, California's newest bicycle law went into effect, the "Three Feet for Safety Act" law. However, most motorists are unaware of it. Maybe a new sign will help.
October 1, 2014, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"It's been less than two weeks since California motorists were ordered to give bicyclist more room on the road and in that time frame, at least one Bay Area cyclist has died after colliding with a car," writes Natalie Neysa Alund of the Bay Area News Group, who goes on to report some of the most recent collisions in the Bay Area that cyclists have experienced since the law went into effect on September 16.

What she found was that few drivers were aware of the new law. But help is on the way.

California Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director David Snyder said that on (September 25), the state Traffic Devices Control Committee approved a new sign that will go up along roadways to make sure motorists are aware of the new law.

Pass 3 Ft Min sign mockup

credit: California Bicycle Coalition - image only.

Will the new law and new signage reduce bicycle collisions? Hopefully, because bicycle fatalities have been increasing.

According to the California Highway Patrol, 153 bicyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles in the state in 2012 -- a 7 percent increase from 2011. Those deaths account for about 5 percent of the state's traffic fatalities.

Regardless of whether the new law does stem bicycle collisions, which "can be evaluated after there is historical data," stated Sgt. Mark Dang, with Fremont Police Department's traffic unit, he noted another contribution it will have. "This law will raise awareness ... and awareness is positive," he added.

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Published on Friday, September 26, 2014 in San Jose Mercury News
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