California Law Requires Drivers to Be Cautious When Passing Bicyclists

The law taking effect Sept. 16 says a driver must allow 3 feet of distance when overtaking or passing a bicyclist.

A new California law taking effect Sept. 16 says a motorist must allow 3 feet of distance when overtaking or passing a bicyclist, and if 3 feet isn't available, the driver must slow to a safe speed and pass when no danger is present.

The California Highway Patrol issued a reminder about the new law last week, saying motorists should expect to see more children riding to and from school on their bicycles.

"Motorists are reminded to pay close attention as the school year approaches and exercise caution when they see bicyclists on the road," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place."

CHP reports that data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System showed that 153 bicyclists were killed in California during 2012, which reflects a 7 percent increase from 2011. Those deaths were 5 percent of the total collision fatalities in California. "As important as it is for vehicles to be mindful of our bicyclists, those who ride must exercise safe practices and ride smart," Farrow said. "With both drivers and bicyclists doing their part, we can help reduce the number of tragedies involving bicyclists."

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