The hope is that the Three Feet for Safety Act will make roads safer for cyclists.
Saturday, June 07, 2014 SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – When thousands of pounds of metal collide with a light-weight bike, it’s never a good outcome for the cyclist and it can be fatal. The most recent numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that across the country, 726 cyclists died in 2012, and another 49,000 were injured in crashes with cars that got too close.
State Assm. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, knows firsthand what it’s like to be hit on a bike.
“I’ve been hit three times by motorists that never once hit the brake after knocking me off the bike,” he said.
Bradford wrote the Three Feet for Safety Act hoping to make roads safer for cyclists.
“This bill just establishes a three foot buffer,” Bradford said. “If in fact it’s not safe to pass, the driver just has to slow down to a reasonable speed and then pass when the cyclist is deemed not in danger.”
Cyclists we talked to welcome the new law.
Many drivers, on the other hand, say the new rule is virtually impossible to follow, especially on crowded streets.
Some are concerned they might get dinged for a ticket, if a cyclist veers into that buffer zone. Drivers who break the law will get a $35 ticket, and if they hit a cyclist, the fine jumps to $225.
There are no fines for cyclists who get too close to cars.
ABC7 News wanted to show why a three-foot buffer may not work in a busy city such as San Francisco. So, we rigged a car with cameras, and noted the distance with a yardstick. Then we drove around the city. It was very difficult to stay 36 inches away from a bike and remain in our lane. Under the new law, we’d have to follow behind for blocks, and that could cause some serious traffic congestion.
Then we marked busy Market Street with chalk at one-foot increments to see how hard it would be to measure three feet. But without some kind of guide, it was tough to tell just how close a cyclist got to a car. So we wondered how could police would be able to tell?… (more)
We support the emergency responders who are requesting wider lanes. You can’t make the streets more narrow and then expect a 3 foot safety zone. If you want safer streets, keep the lanes wide to allow for 3 feet between vehicles in separate lanes. We also support a more balanced transportation system and are helping gather signatures for the Restore Transportation Balance ballet initiative. http://www.restorebalance14.org/