Bicyclists in California are expressing concerns about a new law that was passed to enhance their safety. Starting in September 2014, when motorists pass bicyclists moving in the same direction, they will have to maintain a three-foot buffer zone between themselves and the bicyclist. If three feet aren’t available, the motorist will be required to slow down and pass “when no danger is present to the bicyclist.”
However, bicyclists aren’t persuaded that drivers can identify a three-foot gap or understand what’s considered safe passage. “It’s all up for interpretation,” Palm Springs resident and avid bicyclist Tyler Shaw, 43, told USA Today.
In California, state law requires bicycle riders to use roadways and obey all traffic rules, including traveling in the same direction as traffic. Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the roadway unless they are making a left turn. Ben Guitron, speaking for the Indio Police Department, told USA Today that law officers will need to educate themselves to enforce the new rule properly. “Distance to everyone may be a different perception. You just have to show you did everything reasonable and safe in order to conduct your action,” Guitron said.
Prior to the new law, motorists were merely required to pass at “a safe distance.” The new law requires drivers to consider factors like weather and road conditions when determining if space is available for a three-foot gap. Violators of the new measure will face a $35 fine, as well as a $220 fine if a collision happens.
If you have suffered a personal injury in a bicycle crash due to a distracted or negligent driver, talk right away with an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be able to file a claim and obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. A good personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you to obtain the evidence you’ll need to win. Injured crash victims should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly after an accident as possible. Nothing is more important than your health.