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Do You Support SB 1464, the 3-Foot Passing Rule?

A bill has passed the state senate requiring automobiles to pass no closer than three feet to bicyclists. Napa cyclists support the proposed law; what do you think? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

In the wake of several vehicle collisions that have left bicyclists dead or injured, our question of the week is about SB 1464.

The proposed state law, making it a legal requirement for automobiles to give bicyclists a minimum clearance of three feet when passing, has the support of Napa cyclists.

You can read more about the bill in from the Napa County Bicycle Coalition.

SB 1464 has passed the state Senate and is up for a vote by the Assembly Friday. How would you vote if it were up to you?

Tell us in the comments, keeping in mind that we ask commenters to use names when taking part in our community dialogue.

If you'd rather remain anonymous, you may email your comment to napa@patch.com.

Either way, please take our non-scientific poll below to let us know where you stand on this issue.

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Ed Rapp August 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Absolutely NOT...How about a bill that requires Bicyclists to stay in the Bicycle lane or no more than 3 feet from the edge of any roadway and if they are holding up more than 4 cars they must stop their bicycles and let the cars safely pass....
Yvonneteresa van Grieken August 20, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Yes, especially with all the hit and runs in the Napa/Sonoma Valley! I do like to suggest that more enforcement is needed of "Bicyclists that run Stop Signs etc. Does anyone have any suggestions how we can get cyclist to not violate the "Rules" of sharing the road with cars?
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM
This is odd: The poll disappeared. I will create a new one after I get back (I am on the bus from El Cerrito del Norte, running out of battery power). Thank you for your comments!
John Richards August 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
How about a law that bicyclists may not ride to the left of the fog line if there is pavement to the right of that fog line, and in no case may bicyclists ride abreast of each other.
Mark Mathews August 21, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Before we saddle ourselves with yet another law, lets inquire into what the CURRENT laws are, and whether or not we truly NEED a new one. Its always been common sense that a motor vehicle passes a bicycle SAFELY. I don't think that one more law will make much of a difference in how people drive, seeing how many chimps already disobey the texting prohibition. How 'bout instead, making the guilty party in the exchange an example of what not to do for a change?
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 02:41 AM
OK, the article has a poll again. The first poll has vanished along with its results, so if you voted before, please do so again. Thanks everyone.
Lucas Mingst August 21, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Unfortunately that is the problem. Very rarely is there a bike lane or any type of pavement beyond the white line. Oak Knoll Avenue is a prime example of this. While I try to stay on the white line as much as possible on that road sometimes it's not possible with the potholes reaching up to a foot to the left of the line. The key to solving the problems with this issue is courtesy from both sides. Oh, and it would be nice if there was adequate street cleaning to get the broken glass out of what bike lanes there are, but that's a separate issue.
Robert Ceballos August 21, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Strict Liability: http://www.rpa.org/2012/08/to-make-cycling-and-walking-safer-put-the-burden-on-drivers.html
Ed Rapp August 21, 2012 at 03:34 PM
@Robert Ceballos..Unfortunately, the question of "Liability" is a mute point when a bicycle meets a motor vehicle. Liability is mute when a bicyclist meets pavement, trees, rocks, or guardrail. The bicyclist will always lose those battles, and way too often permanently. My wife and I went for a nice leisurely bike ride yesterday(Monday) after work. Laurel Street to Brownsvalley Road to Redwood Road across the housing neighborhood back to Brownsvalley Market back to Laurel. We stopped at Stop Signs, rode on the right where is was as safe as possible. At unmarked intersections we slowed and looked for vehicles. Know who the rudest people on the road were? Other bicyclists dressed in ugly spandex with preditor/alien looking helmets doing Lance Armstrong imitations thinking they were competing on a closed road at "Tour de France". Twice we were yelled at for "being in the way". THEY are the more danger on the road. Not the vehicle drivers..Several drivers were very nice to stop at intersection/crosswalks to let us cross at busy intersections while they got rudely honked at by other impatient drivers. It is going to have to be up to cyclists to be more cautious and safety conscious. All the legislation and "Liability" issues aren't worth a damn if you are lying dead in the roadway, just another piece of "road kill"....
David Bloug, Sr August 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I drive from St Helena to Lake Berryessa 2x/week as my grandkids live in the Highlands. Invariably; there will be a cyclist in the middle of the road (making no attempt to get over or even off the road to let cars n trucks pass) The roads are not wide enough for both and the cyclist ASSUME they have the right of way just because thet are doing weekly ritual of riding their bicycle in the niddle of the right hand land and make no attempt at getting over on the edge of the road. I stopped one time and yelled at him to get over and his response was FU!. behind him down the hill, (this was by the spillway at Conn Dam) was his wife or girlfriend---barely ably to make the treck up the hill. Unless there is a painted bike-lane; I don't believe cyclists should be on these narrow roads and should stay just in the areas that are provided for them with the lanes on Silverado trail and around town !
Mark Mathews August 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM
There are many, MANY of those spandex road warriors (not all of course) out on the roads between Bodega Bay and Petaluma, who seem to think they OWN the road; many a time I've seen them riding side by side, instead of single file; they never have anything to fear from me though; I treat each and every one of them as though they are about to swerve in from of me. Oh, and the young white motorcycle riders, doubling the posted limits, don't get me started on THAT...
F Otterbeck August 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Ed Rapp has some great points. Certain roads in Napa county are unsuited to bicycling, this is true. Rutherford Road often has slow moving bicycles in the blind S curve on the narrow bridge. There is no bike lane or shoulder on most of the road, so bicyclists are in the road, and usually in the middle. A 3 foot passing law would be pointless where there is no where to go. I was almost in a head on collision as someone tried to use the 3 foot rule to pass a pair of bicyclists. They were riding two abreast on a section of roadway with a blind turn and no bike lanes. Drivers swerved everywhere to get around them, and the bicyclists were oblivious to their near death. This legislation just becomes another unenforceable law in a county where bicyclists are never cited and there is built in liability for auto drivers. Before we make a law, let's try enforcing the ones we have. Particularly, for bicyclists who refuse to take normal safety precautions.
Ed Rapp August 23, 2012 at 06:30 PM
How about bicyclists being required to carry liability insurance just like automobiles. Shouldn't it be "Fair" that if bicyclists wish to be equal in status to motor vehicles drivers, shouldn't they also carry equal responsibility?? Maybe not for everyday or casual riders, but during "events", official or unofficial with groups having more than 10 riders having bicyclists required to purchase a comprehensive event insurance for the duration of the "event" that is comparable to required auto insurance...They want to be "equal" to motorists, so be it..
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Hi Ed, There is already a California Law requiring if 5 vehicles are held up the offending vehicle pull over to allow them to pass. However if you've ever been behind a RV with 25 vehicles you know this is not enforced. It's possible ride a bicycle a few inches from the side of the road to allow a motor vehicle to pass. As a cyclist am concerned about holding any motor vehicle back and do my best to cooperate. On the other hand probably only 2 of 100 motor vehicles that I do my best to allow pass shows any appreciation with a hand wave or toot of their horn.
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
A bounty system? :)
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:03 PM
You are so correct Lorie!
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Hi again Ed, What's your plan to educate motorists and cyclists?
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:07 PM
David probably the cyclist was a selfish jerk but what if they realized you would pass despite not enough room and run them off the road so were riding in the middle of the land as a "signal" for you to wait until it was safe. With as many attorneys in California it would only take 2 seconds to change your life for the worse if you hit the cyclists or ran into another motor vehicle coming around the corner head on!
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Excellent point. When are you running for the legislature?
Belle (Orchid Lady) August 29, 2012 at 08:39 PM
>Bicycles in Travel Lanes< When passing a bicyclist in the travel lane ensure enough width for the bicyclist, typically 3 feet. Do not squeeze or force a bicyclist off the road. Bicyclists may occupy the center of the lane when conditions such as a narrow lane or road hazard make it unsafe to ride in a position that may provide room for a vehicle to pass. With any slow-moving vehicle or bicycle, drivers should follow at a safe distance. When it is safe, the bicyclists should move to a position that allows vehicles to pass. Remember, bicyclists are entitled to share the road with other drivers. Page 35. of the CA drivers handbook http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl600.pdf
F Otterbeck August 29, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Are you making the point that this is a specious law?
Belle (Orchid Lady) August 29, 2012 at 11:10 PM
@ F Otterbeck, I was somewhat replying to what someone said earlier about 'we should find out what laws we currently have' regarding this issue. I went to where I had see it in the drivers hand book, and posted it. I don't think it's specifically a "law" but it's in the handbook, and it's common sense to allow 'room for a cyclist' while passing in a vehicle. I also felt it could point out "why" a bicyclist might not move over immediately for a vehicle, on narrow mountain roads. I don't think passing a law requiring the "3 feet rule" will solve anything, but merely serve as a 'reason' for police to pull people over. It will also contribute to more accidents, because people will be required to cross in to the other lane where there is no 'bike lane/shoulder'. IMHO The only 'good' thing I could see it doing would be, IF a person was accused of injuring a bicycle rider, that could be an additional charge? :)
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Updated: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill Sept. 28, arguing it would expose the state to expensive litigation.
John Richards November 15, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Although I'm a Republican I give our governor credit for having a lot of common sense!

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