California’s “Three Feet For Safety Act” and the Results Two Years Later
If you are a cyclist then you are familiar with the threat the automobiles pose when sharing the road. Historically, automobiles shared the road with cyclists and pedestrians. However, in the modern age, automobiles dominate the roads and drivers of cars and trucks view cyclists as an infringing nuisance. Well aware of this fact, the California legislature took action in 2014 by implementing California Vehicle Code Section 21760 which is also known as the “Three Feet for Safety Act.”
As its name suggests, the Act requires drivers to maintain a distance of three feet when overtaking and passing a cyclist. The pertinent provision prohibits a driver from passing a cyclist that is closer than three feet from the vehicle. California Vehicle Code Section 21760(c) states: “A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.”
Failure to abide by the Act was punishable as an infraction with a nominal fine of $35. Failure to abide by the Act and causing a collision which results in bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle subjects the driver to a fine of $220. With these small penalties, the question remains as to whether or not the Act has succeeded to deter unsafe passing practices of drivers and prevent motor vehicle accident v. bicycle injuries.
The Act became operative on September 16, 2014 and the initial indication is that the Act is ineffective in curbing injuries to cyclists caused by the negligence of motor vehicle operators. The author of this article questioned ten people regarding the Act to determine if they were familiar with the Act and none were. It follows, that none of the people questioned altered their driving habits when passing cyclists on the road as a result of the Act.
If you, a friend or a loved one was injured by a negligent motorist while operating a bicycle, contact the Piccuta Law Group today. Bicycle accidents often result in the most catastrophic and severe injuries. Our attorneys have experience handling both bicycle and catastrophic injury cases and are available to provide a consultation at no charge.