California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that will require motorists to give bicyclists three feet of leeway when passing them on roads and highways. Assembly Bill 1371, also known as the “Three Feet For Safety Act,” is slated to take effect in September 2014.
Ed France, the executive director of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, told Noozhawk.com that the new law is important because it makes drivers aware that the act of “buzzing” bicyclists or intimidating them on the road is now considered a criminal act.
“It is a meaningful step forward for respectful roadway behavior,” he told Noozhawk.
Motorists who break the law will be facing a $35 fine. If a collision occurs and a bicyclist is injured as a result of a violation, those drivers will be facing a $220 fine. The law not only requires that any part of a vehicle has to be three feet from any part of a bicycle when it passes, but it also compels motorists to slow down and pass at a safe speed if a three foot buffer cannot be maintained on narrower streets and highways.
Stay Safe While Riding
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand have seen firsthand the harm that negligent motorists can do to bicyclists. Here are some safety tips that may help you avoid serious injury or even death:
Wear a Helmet.
Tens of thousands of head injuries could be prevented each year if bicyclists wore helmets. Make sure your helmet fits properly and replace it after any impact.
Obey the Rules of the Road
The rules don’t just apply to motorists. Ignoring stop signs or red lights can lead to serious and avoidable injuries. Never ride against the flow of traffic.
Use hand signals to communicate what your intentions are to motorists. Also, make eye contact with motorists to ensure they have seen you before crossing or turning.
Needed Help for Injured Bicyclists
If you have been injured by a negligent or distracted motorist while cycling and have questions about your legal rights, call the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand at our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530. You may be entitled to compensation for medical care, time spent in a hospital, pain and suffering, and other damages. Your case review, as always, is free and confidential.