The proposal from Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, is intended to better protect cyclists from aggressive drivers. It states that if drivers cannot leave 3 feet of space, they must slow down and pass only when it would not endanger the cyclist's safety.
The law will go into effect
At least 22 states and the
"This gives clear information to drivers about passing at a safe distance," said Steve Finnegan, government affairs manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California, which supported the legislation. "Everyone using the road needs to follow the rules and watch out for everyone else."
Brown signed the legislation after vetoing similar measures in 2011 and 2012. Those bills would have allowed drivers to cross a double-yellow line to make room for a cyclist or required them to slow to 15 mph when passing within 3 feet.
The governor cited concerns that the provisions could spark more crashes or make the state liable for collisions resulting from a driver crossing a yellow dividing line.
Some lawmakers who opposed the bill, such as Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said it would be difficult to estimate a 3-foot distance while driving, especially when cyclists also might be swerving to avoid road hazards.
Bradford's spokesman, Matt Stauffer, said case-by-case enforcement will be up to local police departments. The overall aim is to remind drivers and cyclists that they have a responsibility to behave safely on the road, Stauffer said.
A violation of the new 3-foot requirement would be punishable by fines starting at $35. If unsafe passing results in a crash that injures the cyclist, the driver could face a $220 fine.