Some Q & A about California's new Three Foot Passing Law, CVC 21760, which goes into effect today, September 16th.
Q. Where is the three feet measured from? The centerline of the bicycle?
A. It's from any part of the bicycle or rider to any part of the motor vehicle. So for example, from my elbow to your side view mirror.
Q. What if there's not enough room to pass with three feet of space?
A. Wait until there is.
Q. WHAT? You want me to WAIT? A few SECONDS??
Q. Can I at least throw a tantrum while I wait?
A. If you like.
Q. Can't I slow down and squeeze past if I'm really careful?
A. Well, hmm, maybe. Subsection (d) seems to say something like that, although it's pretty vague. Tell you what - try it and see if you get cited!
Q. Isn't there something about I can cross a double yellow line to
pass a cyclist?
A. No. Some of the six previous versions of the bill had such a provision. Those versions were vetoed. The version that became law does not include an exception for double yellow lines.
Q. Does it also apply to passing motorcycles?
A. No, only bicycles. Knock yourself out. Or knock the motorcyclist out. Whatever.
Q. Does it mean bicycles must also stay three feet away from cars?
A. No, it only applies to motor vehicles passing bicycles. When you are stuck in traffic, bikes can still lane-split past you.
Q. That doesn't sound very fair.
Q. What's the fine?
A. It's Thirty Five Dollars. Thirty Five Big Ones. Thirty Five Dollaroonies. Oh and if you actually hit a cyclist and cause an injury, the fine goes up to $220!
Q. Hey, does that mean I can now hit a bicyclist, pay $220, and get away
with it? That sounds like kind of a good deal!