By Carlos Villatoro The third time is the charm: motorists trying to pass bicyclists on any highway or byway will soon have to stay at least three feet away under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.
AB 1371—which aims to protect bicyclists from harassment from passing motorists—will go into effect next September. Previous legislation asked drivers to pass cyclists only at a safe distance.
This is the third attempt to pass such a law in as many years. In 2011 and 2012, Brown cited safety concerns when he vetoed two previous versions of the law. Last year's law would have allowed motorists to cross the double yellow line to give the required three feet; 2011's version would have required motorists to slow to 15 mph if they could not provide three feet of passing room.
AB 1371 does not allow motorists to cross the double yellow line; if there is not enough room to provide a three-foot buffer zone, motorists must slow to a safe and reasonable speed.