Big Bear City, CA, September 18, 2014 – It’s long been encouraged, but now it’s the law. As of September 16, California drivers are required to give bicyclists a three-foot margin as they pass them on the road. Our state isn’t the first to take such measures: According to the website 3footrule.com, 20 other states have some version of the law already on the books. Three other states have laws or codes requiring vehicles to maintain an unspecified “safe distance” from cyclists.
If a law enforcement officer witnesses a violation, violators could get at least a $35 fine, or a $220 fine if a collision occurs. Allowances are made, however, in cases where there’s not enough room for a driver to give three feet; in that case, they must slow down to safely pass.
There has been a small but steady annual increase in the number of fatalities over the past decade. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012, 726 cyclists lost their lives in crashes with motor vehicles.