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  1. #1
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Editorial in Cali shooting down 3' rule

    Sort of sad. The author misses the point. Especially this:

    Imagine some of our roads — what if it's a two-lane highway with no way to pass a bicyclist unless your vehicle crosses to the opposite side of the road. In fact, unlike current law, the proposed measure allows a car to cross over a double yellow line and enter a center turn lane to pass a bicyclist. Doesn't that increase the risk of a terrible head-on collision?
    A cyclists life is disposable so long as there isn't a car to car or car to truck head on collision? Would we run over the cyclist to stay in our lane? Why not slow down and wait until its safe to pass?

    Does a cyclist have the right to the lane in California?



    I'm hoping something like this will happen here... out of our urban centers VT is a nice place to ride low traffic, friendly folks - but in any of the larger towns folks seem to like to buzz you as close as they can. Having a 3' law, while not perfect, is a good start to reminding drivers we have a right to the road. I'm not sure how enforceable it is... but at least it would be on the books that in theory bikes have rights, and deserve a little room on the road.

  2. #2
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    The same objections have been raised to the 3' passing law proposed in the Oregon Legislature this session.

  3. #3
    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Doesn't that increase the risk of a terrible head-on collision?
    Only if the driver is brain dead.

  4. #4
    Conservative Hippie
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    Imagine some of our roads — what if it's a two-lane highway with no way to pass a bicyclist unless your vehicle crosses to the opposite side of the road. In fact, unlike current law, the proposed measure allows a car to cross over a double yellow line and enter a center turn lane to pass a bicyclist. Doesn't that increase the risk of a terrible head-on collision?
    Tells me the author of the article is too dumb to understand to not pass when it's not safe. Also tells me that it's rediculously easy and inexpensive to get a DL in CA, as it is in the rest of the U.S. Absolute minimal training required.

  5. #5
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    Now that I think about it, I don't recall any info in the DMV driving handbook about cyclists at all when I first got my license in Cali. That was about 20 years ago. Does anyone know if there is anything in the new driver's handbooks these days about driving and cyclists? If not, maybe they should pass a law to get it in there.

    Ignorance sucks!
    Last edited by Gee3; 02-09-07 at 05:41 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    What would be hilarious except that teh author is serious is that he argues the 3' rule is subjective, but current law saying passing at a safe distance is OK.

  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gee3
    Now that I think about it, I don't recall any info in the DMV driving handbook about cyclists at all when I first got my license in Cali. That was about 20 years ago. Does anyone know if there is anything in the new driver's handbooks these days?

    Ignorance sucks!
    I don't bother with the handbook anymore.

    I discovered the actual vehicle code on line a few years ago and haven't looked back.

    Go to: dmv.ca.gov
    Click on Publications.
    Scroll down until you find: 2007 California Vehicle Code (HTML); click on it.
    That gets you to the index page.
    For example, if you click on P, you get to all topics that start with P, like PASSING.
    Under PASSING, you can find:

    Left side, use of, 21650, 21750

    If you click on 21750, you'll find:


    Overtake and Pass to Left
    21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.


    Replacing 21750 with the 3' law will buy us nothing in practice, and will arguably reduce the legal "safe passing distance" from something more than 3' to only 3' in some instances.

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    Tells me the author of the article is too dumb to understand to not pass when it's not safe. Also tells me that it's rediculously easy and inexpensive to get a DL in CA, as it is in the rest of the U.S. Absolute minimal training required.
    Bingo!!!

    And what ever is learned in that "minimal training" is barely retained, and often supplanted with false hoods and bad habits.

    It truly amazes me that so many motorists (including the author) fail to realize that they must give way to those in front of them, or pass with caution, only when it is safe to do so.

  9. #9
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    The article is a mix bag. On one hand it has driver centric ideas that they some how HAVE to pass a cyclist. Even with on coming traffic. On the other, he does have a point. The law can't be inforced and there is already a similar law that exists. Seems more like a law that to push some kind of political agenda then to increase the safety of cyclists. Money should be better spent to actually see what the problem is, and the best and meaningful way to remedy it.
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  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Perhaps the only real positive that might come out of such a law is to give notice to drivers that indeed cyclists do belong on the road.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Perhaps the only real positive that might come out of such a law is to give notice to drivers that indeed cyclists do belong on the road.
    Why would changing the wording of some obscure section of the vehicle code to say "shall pass to the left at least 3 feet" instead of "shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of ..." give noticed to drivers of anything?

    All this is much ado about almost nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Why would changing the wording of some obscure section of the vehicle code to say "shall pass to the left at least 3 feet" instead of "shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of ..." give noticed to drivers of anything?

    All this is much ado about almost nothing.
    Well, around here, when any change is made to our local laws the news runs a story on all of the changes for a few consecutive nights.
    So I guess changing the wording would put the fact they motorists should pass safely fresh in their minds.

    you asked

  13. #13
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Why would changing the wording of some obscure section of the vehicle code to say "shall pass to the left at least 3 feet" instead of "shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of ..." give noticed to drivers of anything?

    All this is much ado about almost nothing.
    Frankly it is not the change in wording, but the debate that was illustrated in the OP that gives notice. Simple public debate that motorists are going to follow for their own reasons.

    The law doesn't even have to take effect.

  14. #14
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gee3
    Now that I think about it, I don't recall any info in the DMV driving handbook about cyclists at all when I first got my license in Cali. That was about 20 years ago. Does anyone know if there is anything in the new driver's handbooks these days about driving and cyclists? If not, maybe they should pass a law to get it in there.

    Ignorance sucks!
    Yes, there is a whole page in the driver's handbook.
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/pgs55thru57.htm
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The best response so far has been from a D.A.. It would make it easier to say someone wasn't passing at a safe distance. With what I see on the roads and parking lots today, anything but a collision is thought to be safe.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  16. #16
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    German traffic law has required motorists to give cyclists 1 meter (~40") of clearance when overtaking since I lived there as a kid (late 60s). I don't recall too many head-on collisions being attributed to this law, although I do recall motorists being very diligent about obeying this law, and waiting behind a cyclist for a safe place to pass if necessary.

  17. #17
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    German traffic law has required motorists to give cyclists 1 meter (~40") of clearance when overtaking since I lived there as a kid (late 60s). I don't recall too many head-on collisions being attributed to this law, although I do recall motorists being very diligent about obeying this law, and waiting behind a cyclist for a safe place to pass if necessary.
    But the real difference is that Germany takes licensing procedures seriously, and drivers are actually trained. And because of this attitude the drivers themselves take driving more seriously. The law itself is not nearly as important as having trained, reasonable people behind the wheel. Not the ignorant, self righteous morons that are so prevalent on US roads.

    In the US they hand out licenses like water, and there are so many unlicensed drivers that the cops can't keep up. 43,000 people every year die on our roads, and it's simply not a problem that seems to concern most people.

    Az

  18. #18
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    The best response so far has been from a D.A.. It would make it easier to say someone wasn't passing at a safe distance. With what I see on the roads and parking lots today, anything but a collision is thought to be safe.
    Totally agree with that. It is difficult if not impossible to enforce vague, ambiguous laws like that. Everyone's definition of "safe distance" is different, and I can guarantee a motorists definition is smaller than a bicyclists. The end result is exactly as you said that these laws do not get enforced unless someone actually gets hit.
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  19. #19
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
    Only if the driver is brain dead.
    Aren't a lot of them?

  20. #20
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Frankly it is not the change in wording, but the debate that was illustrated in the OP that gives notice. Simple public debate that motorists are going to follow for their own reasons.

    The law doesn't even have to take effect.
    I'd like to see it take effect here. Such a law may make it easier for the cyclist to go after the driver's insurance, and if someone is going to hit a cyclist because they didn't want to take the time to pass safely, why shouldn't they be cited and get extra points for their poor judgment? I know the police here would welcome anything extra they could cite a driver with, since unless you're intoxicated, traffic infractions are all you can get if you hit or kill a cyclist in Oregon.

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    Instead of/as well as posting here, why don't California posters nail His Numptiness to the wall in letters to the Editor.

    Being an obvious numpty, he won't understand your reasoning, but some of his readers must have IQs which reach double figures

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atbman
    Instead of/as well as posting here, why don't California posters nail His Numptiness to the wall in letters to the Editor.

    Being an obvious numpty, he won't understand your reasoning, but some of his readers must have IQs which reach double figures
    Yes, there are many of them, and they live in large houses far from work, making it necessary to drive cars. There are a lot of letters from cyclists hitting the papers, but the papers are forming the debate from the side of the motorized public. I'm not sure that any of the reporters has ever moved from point A to point B on a bicycle. Any that do usually are for removing bicycles from the roads completely for our own safety.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  23. #23
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    The 3' law would make it extra illegal to intentionally buzz a cyclist. Sounds like a good law if you ask me.
    ~Diane
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  24. #24
    Conservative Hippie
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    I agree. It takes away the ambiguity of "at a safe distance" and makes it a defined distance.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    I agree. It takes away the ambiguity of "at a safe distance" and makes it a defined distance.
    The problem is that a safe distance varies depending on speed differential and size differential between the vehicles in question. A large truck travelling at 100km/h (60MPH) passing a bicycle travelling at 20km/h (12MPH) jprobably requires about 3m(10') for a safe passing distance. A better wording would be "a safe passing distance or 3' whichever is greater", let the driver then decide, if 3' is insufficient he/she has two options, use a greater distance, or reduce speed to a point where 3' is sufficient. If you get passed 100 times, I would say, from personal experience, 40 drivers will change lanes, 58 will slow down, pass, then speed up again, and 2 will be jerks. The funny thing is, because the first two actions are so common, we don't even register most of them, it's the jerks you remember, which is why jerks seem to be much more prevelent then they really are. I wouldn't expect the ratio of decent passes to jerk passes will change much, because jerks are well, jerks, and unless you can some how rewire their personalities, they will remain jerks.

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