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  1. #1
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    For all us folders -- it's about time!!!

    I just got this sent to me. California has passed a new law that requires motorists to give a three foot space between themselves and bicyclists. Its about time I say. I hope this and other laws spread like wildfire across the country. Its a step in the right direction. I would like to know, though, how are they are going to enforce that one. Do we as riders call the cops and say, "This guy/gal passed me at 2 1/2 feet. Here's his plate number, now go after him". All I can say is that's its both difficult for us riders and drivers. What I would like them to pass is a law that forbids other idiots from using the bike lane other than cyclists. Just this morning there was a jogger in the bike lane forcing me into traffic so as to get around the creep. There's a sidewalk so why can't these people use it. On many other occasions we get a lot of retired folk that think its a nice lane for going for a stroll. Pass a law to get these people off the bike lanes. I'm not about to made a fuss over it with these people. It isn't worth the aggravation. But I might start riding my bike on the sidewalk in future if this continues, and then let the police try and site me. He/she will get an ear full.

    Just thought I would pass this on because there are many drivers out there that don't take riding a bike seriously, let alone those of us in their eyes who think we are on a child's bike because of its smaller size. We do get less respect than those who ride larger frame bikes. I don't think there is any doubt about that, depending, of course, where we live. Here in the #10 rated redneck city in America where I live, that be the case.

    http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/conte...ot-passing-law

    Cheers
    Wayne
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  2. #2
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    We've had that law here in Kentucky... almost all motorists are ignorant about it. Cyclists get buzzed and clipped, even by law enforcement officials, yet nothing is done.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
    -- even by law enforcement officials, yet nothing is done --
    Makes you wonder doesn't it. I guess there are some law enforcement officers out there that think they are above the law.
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

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    It's probably the people walking at a snail's pace side by side and taking up the entire sidewalk forcing joggers out into the bike lane and then the bikes are forced out into the road. The one that really drives me nuts are when people feel the need to take their constitutional on the track, walk side by side and chat away despite multiple "excuse me"s. There's no reason one has to walk around a track like that.

  5. #5
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    I wonder if that's even enforceable. The width of a vehicle lane plus a bike lane does not equal the width of a vehicle lane plus three feet, anywhere around here, and around there there are plenty of road shoulders with bike lanes painted on. Not to mention the bill is skewed as-is with no penalty to be applied to us on the bike. I could pedal alongside the lane, reach out and touch a car, and the car's driver would be the ticketable one.

    As it stands, though, it is another weapon to stop cars from creeping over the pedestrian crossing when I'm starting to cross after the lamp lights up the walk signal--and that I WELCOME.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KlibanQat View Post
    The width of a vehicle lane plus a bike lane does not equal the width of a vehicle lane plus three feet
    This is the whole motivation for taking the lane on narrow roads. If there isn't room for a car to pass you while staying on your side of the lane, they need to pass you by crossing into the other lane. By riding in the middle of the lane, you ensuring that they do this. If you ride too close to the edge of the road in these situations, the car may try to pass where there isn't room and it's clear who's going to lose in this situation.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  7. #7
    jmm
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    Great! Repeated studies have shown that most drivers (of anything, bikes included) tend to steer closer to things they are closely scrutinizing, which is exactly what motorists are going to be doing if they're trying to figure out if they are 2 1/2 or 3 feet away from you. One of the first things taught in most competition driving schools is to look through turns, not at the apex, guess why. I sometimes wonder who is ultimately responsible for laws like this. So now if a motorist hits a cyclist, is that prima facie evidence that they were closer than three feet and were therefore breaking the law, thereby rendering their auto insurance contract null and void and ultimately making it harder for an injured/dead cyclist or their estate to recover compensation? I'd rather it be me creating/controlling the separation distance wherever possible, gotta love those sidewalks even more now, and Big Apples to smooth out the joints!

  8. #8
    Senior Member rkokish's Avatar
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    Change the Culture

    Colorado has a 3 foot law. Fortunately, most drivers here are quite courteous and go to great lengths to pass bikes safely and I find that to be the case in most of the areas wherein I've cycled. Laws don't immediately make for changed behavior. We cyclists can however use them to educate people and change the culture. For example, last week a driver passed very close to me. I caught up to him at the next traffic light, knocked on his window, politely reminded him of the 3 foot law, explained that it he frightened me by coming within about one foot instead of obeying the 3 foot rule and requested that he follow it from now on. I bet he remembers that and will maybe share that experience with family and friends. (He reacted to me impassively.) Regardless of the attitude with which he talks about the incident, every time he mentions it, it will draw attention to the law and raise awareness. Conversely, I try to obey traffic laws (red lights, hand signals, etc.) and every time a driver gives me the right of way I respond with a smile and a friendly thank you wave. If the window is open, I usually call out a thank you.
    Ron Kokish
    Carbondale, CO

  9. #9
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkokish View Post
    Colorado has a 3 foot law. Fortunately, most drivers here are quite courteous and go to great lengths to pass bikes safely and I find that to be the case in most of the areas wherein I've cycled. Laws don't immediately make for changed behavior. We cyclists can however use them to educate people and change the culture. For example, last week a driver passed very close to me. I caught up to him at the next traffic light, knocked on his window, politely reminded him of the 3 foot law, explained that it he frightened me by coming within about one foot instead of obeying the 3 foot rule and requested that he follow it from now on. I bet he remembers that and will maybe share that experience with family and friends. (He reacted to me impassively.) Regardless of the attitude with which he talks about the incident, every time he mentions it, it will draw attention to the law and raise awareness. Conversely, I try to obey traffic laws (red lights, hand signals, etc.) and every time a driver gives me the right of way I respond with a smile and a friendly thank you wave. If the window is open, I usually call out a thank you.
    You are fortunate to live in an area where courtesy hasn't gone by way of the Dodo bird. I solute your bravery, because in some parts of the country you would have received a different response -- which we won't go into. It would be nice, in this country, if we could adopt laws and roadway availability (not to mention an attitude adjustment) like they have done in Holland, for example. Here's a neat video of what they have done for cyclists. If only we could do the same here. It would be an enormous uphill battle that I doubt very much that cyclists would win.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn2s6ax_7TM
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  10. #10
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    It's a step in the right direction and cheaper than dedicated bicycle lanes.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsprok View Post
    It's a step in the right direction and cheaper than dedicated bicycle lanes.
    Yes it is cheaper, but that's just the problem with us here. No matter what we decide to do, its always go to be on the cheap. Other countries around the world put up monorail systems above and running along main thoroughfares. They are quit, fast and in the long run much cheaper to run. But what do we do -- we stay with old technology and install light rail transit with old fashion rails. They say its because its cheaper. Is it really when they have to restructure existing roadways to allow for two lanes of train lines. Then they only lay down a few miles of track that ends up being a waste of time as far as public transportation goes. Take the light rail transit in Phoenix, AZ as an example. Is it a boon to commuters? Bloody waste of tax payers money. Most of those who ride the stupid thing are tourists out sightseeing. All because they want to do things on the cheap. It would have been a blessing in this city if they planned out a monorail system that would have been far easier to install with much less change to the existing roadways. But no, we must do things on the cheap and end up with an expensive and useless addition to an already pathetic public transportation system.

    Cheaper than dedicated bike paths -- we need dedicated bike paths. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to risk my life riding on roads without proper bike lanes thinking that the drivers of today are going to obey a law like this. That doesn't make me feel safe and it doesn't do diddly squat for the future of cycling in this country -- but hey, after all its cheaper. Fortunately there are cities around the country who have planned out great bikes lanes, and I'm happy to say that where I live there are ample roads to ride. It would be nice to see them plan out roadways etc., like they have done in the Netherlands. Take a look at this short video of what they have done for cycling in the Netherlands. They have planned it in such a way that you can ride anywhere and everywhere all over Holland on your bike.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn2s6ax_7TM
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Still Pedaling View Post
    Take a look at this short video of what they have done for cycling in the Netherlands. They have planned it in such a way that you can ride anywhere and everywhere all over Holland on your bike.
    Well, it's a flat country with 5% of the US population and 10 times the population density. Transportation is not a one size fit all.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    Well, it's a flat country with 5% of the US population and 10 times the population density. Transportation is not a one size fit all.
    What you say is very true. But we do have smaller densely populated areas around the country that each could use a system such as this. Of course we can't incorporate one that would allow for cycling all over the country, but we can have numerous systems in each of the large cities and towns across the country. The benefits are numerous -- a healthier life style for one thing. Imagine, a healthier population that results in a less overly taxed health care system that is overloading the budget. Exercise is well know to increase a healthier body and a healthier mind. I could go on and on regarding that particular subject, but all in all systems of that sort would be a huge benefit to the people of this country. We need to get them out of their automobiles and on their bikes -- but then again, systems like this would be quickly voiced down by those that control the country -- the corporate 1% in the oil and gas industry and not to mention the auto industry that dances to their tune, who are all collectively in bed with one another prostituting themselves with the government at large. The undertaking is simple, but the forces of corporate America are far too powerful to go up against. So we will muddle along with our little bike lanes battling the internal combustion engines. Besides, the odds of getting the average American out of his automobile would be worse than the odds of winning the lottery.

    Anyway, enough of this subject.

    Time to get out and ride.
    Last edited by Still Pedaling; 10-06-13 at 11:46 AM.
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  14. #14
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Still Pedaling View Post
    The undertaking is simple, but the forces of corporate America are far too powerful to go up against. So we will muddle along with our little bike lanes battling the internal combustion engines. Besides, the odds of getting the average American out of his automobile would be worse than the odds of winning the lottery.
    have no fear..


  15. #15
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    have no fear..

    . . . and so be the end!!
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  16. #16
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Still Pedaling View Post
    ... We need to get them out of their automobiles and on their bikes ...
    No we don't. Our fellow citizens are not little kids that we need to patronize. They are free people just like you and me.

    Lifestyle is not a one size fits all thing. Embrace diversity.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    No we don't. Our fellow citizens are not little kids that we need to patronize. They are free people just like you and me.

    Lifestyle is not a one size fits all thing. Embrace diversity.
    I think you missed what I meant. Of course we can't force or tell people what to do. Its a free society and they have the right to drive, walk, ride or whatever. Too many people today are so far out of shape and walking time bombs regarding health issues. I still drive my car, but I take time out to ride my bike to places where I feel I don't need the use of my car. The statement was meant to encourage people to ride their bikes and provide them with the opportunity to ride at times when they don't require a car. Of course lifestyle is not a one size fits all thing, and we all need diversity -- and yes, I embrace it. Using the car when necessary and riding ones bike when possible -- is that not diversity. Doctors tell us to exercise, schools have gym and pool classes -- and for a very good reason. People are definitely free, and I am free to at least encourage or point out to others the benefits of riding, no different than a doctor who encourages his patients to exercise. I know that if I was out in the working force and I could commute back and forth to work using my bike only or conjunction with public transport, I would. And why not provide opportunities for people to make a choice. Its pretty hard to make a choice such as this if there aren't means at their disposal to allow for that choice.

    Besides, in Holland where they have the opportunity to ride their bikes anywhere they wish to ride, have the same opportunity to drive their cars anywhere they wish to drive. They have a choice either way because they have been provided an opportunity to make that choice -- that's diversity. We have very little of that here because, for the most part, driving a car is pretty well the only choice many people have. Before bike lanes where implemented where I live, cars where the only means of transport -- oh sure we have a public transit system, but it was and still is useless at best. But now we have that word you like -- diversity, or at least a little more of it.

    Cheers
    Wayne
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm View Post
    Great! Repeated studies have shown that most drivers (of anything, bikes included) tend to steer closer to things they are closely scrutinizing, which is exactly what motorists are going to be doing if they're trying to figure out if they are 2 1/2 or 3 feet away from you. One of the first things taught in most competition driving schools is to look through turns, not at the apex, guess why. I sometimes wonder who is ultimately responsible for laws like this. So now if a motorist hits a cyclist, is that prima facie evidence that they were closer than three feet and were therefore breaking the law, thereby rendering their auto insurance contract null and void and ultimately making it harder for an injured/dead cyclist or their estate to recover compensation? I'd rather it be me creating/controlling the separation distance wherever possible, gotta love those sidewalks even more now, and Big Apples to smooth out the joints!
    No idea where you got the idea that auto insurance is void if someone was violating a traffic law. In almost all car crashes one or both parties involved were breaking a traffic law - that doesn't make their insurance void, but it does affect whose insurance company will pay for the damages. The 3' law should make it a little easier to recover damages if the driver claims he would have missed you if you hadn't swerved since any witnesses may be able to say that if you swerved at all it was certainly less than 3'.

    And the 3' laws don't specify that you should pass at exactly 3', just by at least 3' so there's no need for any close scrutiny of the passing distance, just the realization that you shouldn't be buzzing by someone at high speed without leaving a reasonable amount of room between you.

    I don't expect there to be many citations issued as a direct result of this law, but I do hope it improves some driver attitudes through public service announcements and other educational efforts about the minimum passing distance and an emphasis of it in driver training courses for new drivers.

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