Starting on September 16th, 2014 drivers in the state of California could be ticketed for driving too close to cyclists. Bike riders throughout the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco and Fresno are rejoicing as there have been many occurrences in which their safety was challenged by drivers attempting to get around them. The Three Feet for Safety Act requires drivers to give cyclists three feet or slow down to a speed that is prudent and reasonable if traffic or road conditions do not allow for the three feet. Get much more information on the Three Feet for Safety Act here: New California Law Fines Drivers for Getting Too Close to Bikes.
Over the course of the last decade many personal injury lawyers have been contacted by bike riders that have been struck by a motorized vehicle. In the city of Los Angeles there are thousands of cyclists that must brave the elements to try to get from point A to point B. Fortunately, the state of California realized the conditions for riding a bike were not safe in many counties and cities. The entire Three Feet for Safety Act reads:
Three Feet for Safety Act
21760. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Three Feet for Safety Act.
(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the highway.
(c) 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.
(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway.
(e) (1) A violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty–five dollars ($35).
(2) If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d), a two–hundred–twenty–dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that driver.
(f) This section shall become operative on September 16, 2014.
Most personal injury lawyers and legal representatives would agree that this is a step in the right direction. Some accident lawyers have had multiple cases in which a driver was negligent in their actions as they tried to outrun or pass a cyclist. Now that the law will be set in place as of September 16th, 2014 we can only hope the drivers in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California are much more aware of bikes that are traveling on the side of the road or on the sidewalk.
There has been a class action lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles because of broken and uneven sidewalks. This type of situation makes it even worse for cyclists that are trying to stay our of traffic. Hopefully, as we move forward into 2015 there are many measures in place to make it much more safe for pedestrians and cyclists to get too and from their destination without any worries of being struck by a motorized vehicle.
For much more on Los Angeles car accidents and driving conditions go to our page that is updated weekly. We try to illustrate some of the accidents and why they happen in specific spots. If you have an accident to report please reach out to us as we would love to be the go to source to report the less than ideal traffic conditions in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California.