Tag Archive for CABO

Morning Links: CD5’s Paul Koretz’ credibility questioned; CABO president calls bike lane advocates Uncle Toms

Westside councilmember Paul Koretz seems to be catching it from all sides lately.

Just days after many bicyclists — yours truly included — reacted negatively to his call for slashing greenhouse gases after killing bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, the UCLA Bicycling Academy falls just short of calling the councilmember a liar.

Consulting Economist Calla Wiemer writes that Koretz appeared before the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association recently to explain his decision to kill the bike lanes, after promising the same group last year that the city would study them.

The Councilmember offered two justifications for the cancellation. One was that he realized that incorporating bike lanes into Westwood Boulevard would only make the situation more dangerous. The other was that he recognized an “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. In light of these considerations, he determined that regardless of any LADOT findings, he would not approve bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard. There was thus no point wasting time with a study.

Yet as Wiemer explains, the bike lanes would have improved safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets for bike riders, while moving riders out of the way of impatient motorists.

In fact, I’m told the safety portion of the study Koretz cancelled was virtually complete when he pulled the plug, and would have shown that the proposal would have no negative impact on safety — something he undoubtedly knew, despite proclaiming just the opposite as a justification for killing the project.

Which could explain his timing in killing the study last year before the results could be released.

As for his other excuse,

Koretz’s second justification for canceling the LADOT study was an ostensible “overwhelming consensus of the community” in opposition. The hundreds of riders who brave Westwood Boulevard daily on bikes would surely be surprised to discover the ease with which their interests can be overwhelmed in the view of the Councilmember. Moreover, those in favor of bike lanes extend well beyond the cycling community, or even the would-be cycling community taken to encompass those who would like to ride Westwood Boulevard but are deterred by present conditions. All who drive Westwood Boulevard regularly have the experience of getting stuck behind cyclists and wishing them out of the way. For motorists too, then, bike lanes are the answer….

With support of bike lanes for Westwood Boulevard so much in evidence, an “overwhelming consensus” in opposition would require a counterforce of a scale difficult to imagine. UCLA is, after all, the largest employer in Los Angeles after government and contributes $12.7 billion a year to the local economy. To understand the influences at work on the Councilmember, a group of UCLA students filed a public records request for all communications of the District 5 Council office pertaining to bike lanes. Covering the period February 24, 2010 to November 22, 2013, the file runs to 1035 pages. It is tough to read through all this material let alone infer any consensus from it. Views are presented on both sides of the issue with a relatively small number of people dominating the input. The most vocal opposition comes from the leadership of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association.

One problem with this whole scenario is that the few who run the WSSM HOA carry such disproportionate weight in the Councilmember’s assessment of public opinion. Another problem is that a group constituted on the basis of homeownership in a diverse neighborhood of single family homes and condominiums, young and old, cyclists and non-cyclists would take such a strident position on bike lanes. As a member of this homeowners association myself, I am an indication of the range of opinion that exists in the neighborhood with regard to bike lanes.

It should be deeply troubling to anyone that a single councilmember can, let alone would, derail the democratic process to satisfy an unelected homeowner’s group — not even the Neighborhood Council elected to represent all those who live, work and shop in the area, rather than just the privileged few who can afford homes in the area.

The late Dale Carnegie once wrote that there are two reasons for anything a person says or does — a reason that sounds good, and the real reason.

Koretz has given us two reasons that sound good, but don’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

Which leaves us to wonder just what his real reason is.


Recently we discussed CABO’s opposition to AB 1193, a popular bill before the state legislature that would legalize protected bike lanes in California, which are currently prohibited under restrictive state law.

Jim Baross, president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, wrote in response that the group didn’t oppose the lanes, but simply wanted to maintain standards that he said would ensure their safety.

Yet the following comment from Baross, left on the Cycling in the South Bay blog in response to a story about harassment from motorists on PCH, doesn’t sound like someone who supports bike lanes, protected or otherwise.

It is so similar it’s difficult not to menton (sic) the similarity to racists’ treatment of those they consider not to belong – though nothing nearly as pervasive or violent; bicyclists are not lynched, but we are certainly being discouraged from exercising our rights – equal or less than equal. Disturbing to me is the Uncle-Tom response seeking, in effect, separate and usually inferior facilities – the back of the bus may be safer and using shoulder space may be more comfortable, bit (sic) it shouldn’t be forced on anyone by harrasment (sic) or misapplication of laws.

He’s got a valid point that no one’s choice of where to ride should be forced on them at the end of a bumper.

But to call anyone who wants safe infrastructure that doesn’t require us to share the lane with motorists an Uncle Tom couldn’t be more offensive.

Whether to bicycling advocates who disagree with his apparent opposition to anything but the same vehicular cycling approach that has stymied the growth of bicycling for the past 40 years, or to those who have suffered from real racism for the last 300.

Jim, you’ve got some serious explaining to do.

Thanks to Bike SD’sSam Ollinger for finding the comment.



The Cypress Park Neighborhood Council meets tonight to discuss the already approved, funded and shovel-ready North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, inexplicably halted by CD1 Councilmember — and apparent Koretz emulator — Gil Cedillo.

It only took two years, but a dangerous intersection on the Expo Bikeway has finally been fixed.

Yet another stolen bike, this time in Echo Park.

This is what an unsafe pass looks like captured from behind; thanks to topomodesto for the link.

More on LA Streetsblog’s winning night at the SoCal press awards.



A Federal court jury awarded $1.9 million to the parents of a cyclist shot by Indio police. No surprise, as this case stunk from the beginning.

A Petaluma bike building project helps steer kids from a life of crime.

A St. Helena columnist questions whether society is best served by sentencing a driver convicted of killing a cyclist in a left cross to prison. I can’t answer that question; I just know that people will continue to die on our streets until we start taking traffic crime seriously.



Bicycling says you need to lube more than just your chain.

A new national association of bicycling educators has been formed; thanks to Karen Karabell for the heads-up.

New rechargeable bike light allows you to light the road and recharge your cell at the same time.

Ninety-four percent of Oregon cyclists stop for red lights, compared to up to 77% of drivers who break the speed limit.

It’s been a bad year for cyclists in central Wyoming, as a rider from New York is killed while turning left across a highway. A letter writer suggests the solution is to let cyclists ride salmon; uh, no.

A Wisconsin writer says go ahead and ride to work, but buy a waterproof messenger bag first. And never try to race the rain.

A group of bystanders lift a taxi off an elderly New York bike rider.



A heartless UK thief steals a bike that was left to a woman after her father was killed in a plane crash.

Most Brits think the county’s roads are too risky for bicyclists; thanks to Jim Pettipher for the heads-up.

Scot pro David Millar is booted from his team for this year’s Tour de France.

Belgium’s soccer team prepares to lose to play the US in the World Cup by going for a leisurely bike ride.



When you’re on parole and carrying meth, ammunition and a practice mortar round on your bike, don’t give police an excuse to stop you.

And guess who doesn’t think the doping investigation that brought down Lance Armstrong was good for cycling? That’s right, Lance.


Morning Links: CABO opposes protected bikeway bill; Brit driver kills 5-year old, then says shit happens

Once again, CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, not to be confused with the California Bicycle Coalition — has come out in opposition to a measure that would benefit the overwhelming majority of bike riders in the state.

AB 1193 would legalize protected bike lanes, which are currently considered experimental under California law, creating a fourth class of bikeways in the state to go along with Class 1 off-road bike paths, Class 2 bike lanes, and Class 3 bike routes.

The bill, sponsored by the CBC, would require Caltrans to work with local jurisdictions to establish minimum safety requirements for protected, or separated, bike lanes, rather than rely on Caltrans’ antiquated rules that have severely limited innovation and safety.

I have no doubt CABO is sincere in their opposition, which appears to be based on maintaining the overly conservative Caltrans standards they helped create.

But their opposition stands in the way of encouraging more people to get on their bikes, and improving safety for all road users. And gives needless support to those in the legislature who oppose bicycling and bike infrastructure in general.

Instead of opposing a very good and necessary bill, they should find a way to support it. Or at the very least, stay neutral.

Or they will continue to find themselves out of step with most riders, and further marginalized in a state where the CBC has become the voice of mainstream bicycling.



Richard Risemberg asks what part of traffic calming doesn’t councilmember Gil Cedillo understand?

A Pasadena bike rider is assualted and robbed by passing motorists, possibly at gunpoint.

Nice. LA’s Milestone Rides prepares to ride from Vancouver to San Francisco.



San Diego City Beat goes drinking with BikeSD advocate Sam Ollinger.

The inaugural Big Bear Cycling Festival rolls at the end of next month.

A pipe bomb is found next to a Pacific Grove bike trail. The question is, did someone just hide it here, or were they targeting bike riders?



Good read, as Vice Sports says you can kill anyone with your car, as long as you don’t really mean it.

Great ideas never die. Okay, sometimes. But the self-inflating bike tire is back after a six year absence.

Utah will put rolling billboards on six semi-trucks to promote the state’s three-foot passing law. But will the drivers practice what they preach?

Two New Mexico bike riders find a missing 9-year old girl.

Biased much? A Denver TV station says cyclists are at fault in several bike vs car collisions, but fails to back it up in any way.

If you want to get away with murder, use a car. A Philadelphia judge acquits a driver of vehicular manslaughter for running down his bike-riding romantic rival.

A North Carolina bike lawyer explains why it’s often safer to ride abreast.



Paris’ Velib bike share system has added kids bikes to their rental fleet.

German bike rider poses for photos atop wrecked cars.

The Deutschland high court wisely rules that not wearing a helmet is not contributory negligence in the event of a collision; I’m told some American juries are starting to find otherwise.



Sidi unveils a new camo mountain bike shoe. You know, for all those cyclists who want to be even less visible when they ride. Then again, whenever I see someone wearing camo, I want to walk up to them and say “I can totally see you.”

And a Brit lawyer insists his client really is remorseful, despite saying “Shit happens, life goes on” after being convicted of killing a five-year old bike rider while driving at over twice the speed limit.

Big heart, that guy.


The CABO debate goes on; a badly broken Cinelli helps make the point

Just a quick follow-up on last week’s post about the California Association of Bicycle Organization’s (CABO) opposition to the original intent of state assembly bill AB 819.

As originally written, AB 819 would have allowed California cities and counties to use infrastructure designs that have been proven safe and effective in other places, but haven’t been approved under Caltrans extremely conservative guidelines.

Unfortunately, at the urging of CABO, the bill was rewritten to force Caltrans to review any project that isn’t currently allowed under the MUTCD guidelines, adding a needless layer of red tape, delay and expense. And discouraging planners and designers from even attempting innovative projects that could encourage more riders and enhance safety.

And, I might add, allowing CABO to maintain their influence with Caltrans, which gives them a say on road and bike projects that far outweighs their small size — and gives them the opportunity to challenge projects that don’t meet their own conservative Vehicular Cycling bias.

Amid the incredible mass of comments in response to that post — 174 and counting, as of this morning — a couple stood out, and are worth bringing up to a wider audience reluctant to slog through the many, many critical and defensive points and counterpoints.

First up is this from Gary Kavanagh, author of Gary Rides Bikes, and one of the most intelligent analysts of biking issues I’ve encountered.

Something of great importance that has mostly been left out of this discussion is the impact of bike lanes and other facilities on other street users besides bicyclists. Streets that go through configuration changes to include bike lanes often see safety improvements across the board, including for pedestrians and drivers as well cyclists.

Something that has come up several times during the Santa Monica bike plan process was the results of the Ocean Park bike lane and road diet, which was initially installed as a trial project, and resulted in a 50% reduction in collisions of all kinds. Despite increased bicycle ridership, total bike collisions dropped as well.

Personally I wish the bike lanes were a little wider, with more room to buffer from doors, but it’s hard to argue that the changes to the street were a bad thing. The street became easier and safer to cross for pedestrians, bicyclists were given their own lane, which attracted more riders, but decreased collisions, and the travel time impact to drivers were minor, and fewer drivers collided with each other. It was a win win for everyone.

In New York some street reconfigurations reduced fatalities by so much, that it is literally increasing the average lifespan of New Yorkers because of the past years of traffic fatality reductions. Cities in California could be learning and implementing based on the successes elsewhere, but instead we will continue to be hobbled by having approval go through the unresponsive Caltrans.

As leading L.A. cycling advocate Roadblock put it in response —

This comment basically hits the ball out of the park into the next town folks.

I should also mention that Roadblock, and several others, argued passionately throughout the comments in support of better infrastructure and non-vehicular cyclists. It’s definitely worth taking the time to read all the comments if you have the time.

Then there’s this from DG

I was somewhat impressed that the CABO people were willing to try to defend their views here, until I read this by (Dan) Gutierrez above: “Since you support segregated infrastructure, there are plenty of other organizations better suited to your interests.”

You’re absolutely right, bikinginla: CABO is an anti-biking fraud if they think bike lanes (AKA “segregated infrastructure”) are not an essential part of bike safety. Of course, bike lanes are expensive, and CABO provides a fig-leaf for avoiding that expense.

And that’s the problem. Or at least, one of them.

Even though they changed their mind later, CABO’s initial opposition to California’s proposed three-foot passing law gave cover for groups and individuals who opposed the bill entirely, from AAA to Caltrans and the CHP.

After all, they might reason, if even cyclists don’t support it, why should we?

Their opposition gave Governor Brown an excuse to veto it, placing countless cyclists in continued danger from dangerous motorists. And making Jerry Browned the new bike slang for getting dangerously buzzed by a passing vehicle.

Don’t misunderstand me.

I am not opposed to CABO. As they point out in the comments — over and over again — they’ve done some good work to benefit California riders.

What I am opposed to is a small organization professing to speak on behalf of California cyclists while seeming to stand in the way of the bills and projects we want.

If CABO truly believes they are misunderstood and unappreciated, as their responses indicate, maybe they should take a hard look at why so many cyclists are so angry with them.

Because that anger certainly didn’t start with anything I wrote.


The need for safer streets was driven home by a collision suffered by reader and frequent tipster Todd Mumford, who offers a badly broken bike as evidence.

I was heading down Federal Ave. from my office on Wilshire/Federal.  About a quarter mile down the road, just as the hill gets a little steeper, there is a cross street (Rochester) with a two-way east/west stop.   The car seemed to be checking both ways, but all of a sudden they just roll right across the road as I am coming down the road.  There were no cars behind me, the closest car in front of me was about 4 or so car lengths in front of me and no cars were coming up the hill.  I have two bright blinkers on the front of my bike, along with reflective sidewalls on my tires and a bright fluorescent green jacket.  The driver obviously didn’t look carefully before proceeding across the street.  When I realized that the driver was actually rolling into my path, I slammed on my brakes and turned to avoid them, but ended up laying my bike down and sliding right into the passenger side of their car, slamming it really hard.  The driver stopped and was really freaked out, but glad he didn’t actually have a dead cyclist on his hands.  He gave me his info and hung out while I waited for my wife to pick me up.  Also, a few other cars and pedestrians stopped to check on me.  Unfortunately, none of them were actually there to witness the collision.

Fortunately, he didn’t suffer any serious injuries — just a lot of painful ones, with major bruising and road rash. Here’s hoping he heals fast, and gets back out on a new bike soon.

As an aside, Todd is working with his wife and brother to get a new microbrewery up and running Downtown later this year. They’ve already got the beers, now all they need is a location. And money. If you’re in the market to invest, a bike-friendly microbrewery might be a tasty place to start.

You can follow their progress on their website and on Twitter @MumfordBrewing.


My apologies to everyone who has sent me links lately, especially in regards to Gene Hackman getting hit by a car while not wearing a helmet, the anti-bike ravings of Aussie Cricketeer Shane Warne, and the jerk who physically assaulted Long Beach bike expats The Path Less Pedaled in New Zealand, leading to the two-fisted driver’s arrest.

I’m still crunching numbers on last year’s far too high total of 71 bike riders killed on SoCal streets — 80 if you count gunshot victims. I’ll try to get back to my normal link-loving self soon.

And don’t assume that my posting today means I’m not in support of the opposition to SOPA; a tight schedule this week just means I have to post when I can.

Finally, a quick shout out to Mr. Salamon’s class; I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with you yesterday.

Is an anti-bike fraud being committed in your name?

As a rule, I make a point of not criticizing other bike advocates.

Even when we may disagree, we’re all working towards the same goals of improving safety and increasing ridership, even though our vision of how to achieve that may sometimes vary.

Though clearly, not everyone agrees with me on that.

But when that so-called advocacy runs counter to the interests, safety and desires of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists, I feel I have no choice but to speak up and point the finger.

Especially when it purports to be done in our name.

That’s exactly what happened this week when CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations — successfully opposed AB 819, a bill in the state assembly that, in its original intent, would have allowed California counties and municipalities to implement advances in bicycling infrastructure that have been proven to work in other places.

Things like separated bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike boxes that have been proven to work in places like New York, Chicago and Portland, but are currently considered experimental under Caltrans’ antiquated guidelines.

In other words, why re-invent the wheel when we already know it works?

Unfortunately, CABO took the position that such innovations are still unproven and potentially dangerous — despite their inclusion in the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

And CABO successfully lobbied the State Assembly Transportation Committee to require that any bikeway designs considered nonstandard under Caltrans guidelines must be studied and approved by Caltrans before installation — potentially adding years of delays and needless additional costs to the design process.

Or risking denial by one of the most conservative, foot-dragging and anti-bike transportation agencies in the nation. After all, this is the same massive bureaucracy that, along with the CHP, successfully encouraged Governor Jerry Brown to become just the second state governor — along with current GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry — to veto the state’s three foot passing law.

Something else that CABO initially opposed, before later switching sides.

And earlier this week, the Transportation Committee voted to gut AB 819 by adopting CABO’s proposed wording.

Wheel, meet endless study and bureaucratic delays.

But, you may think, if the original wording of AB 819 was opposed by one of the state’s leading bike advocacy groups, they must have had a darn good reason.

Yeah, you’d think.

However, that presupposes something that just isn’t true. Despite their protestations to the contrary, CABO isn’t the state’s leading bike advocacy group. Or even one of the leading groups.

In fact, I suspect they are a fraud.

Their name may have been accurate when they were founded in 1972. But they have long since ceased to represent the state’s leading bicycling clubs and advocacy organizations.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is not a member of CABO, nor is Bikeside LA or the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, by far the state’s largest bike advocacy group. Fosuch as the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition have left the organization, as have a number of other groups that have allowed their previous memberships to lapse.

Also missing from their membership are such prominent riding clubs such as Velo Club La Grange and former members Los Angeles Wheelmen.

No wonder the CABO doesn’t list the groups that support them on their website.

In fact, a list of active member organizations, as of November, 2010, named only 12 cycling groups as then-current members, as well as six individuals.

Short of contacting each of those clubs individually, there’s no way of knowing which remain members of CABO 14 months later. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the total number of cyclists they represent is less, perhaps far less, than that of the LACBC alone.

And it’s certainly significantly less than the number of cyclists represented by the California Bicycle Coalition (Calbike), which supports AB 819 in its original form. And which drew hundreds of riders from throughout the state to their recent California Bike Summit.

And that’s the problem.

Calbike conducted dozens of seminars over the Bike Summit weekend to gauge the interests of organizations and individuals representing tens of thousands of California cyclists. And the sort of innovative infrastructure that would be allowed under AB 819 in its original form ranked very high among their desires.

So while CABO’s opposition to AB 819 may or may not reflect the desires of its members, it’s far from the desires of most bike advocates in the state, as well as that of most mainstream cyclists.

Yet CABO continues to lobby state officials and legislators, purporting to speak on your behalf, while actively opposing your interests.

And those lawmakers and bureaucrats listen, having no idea that CABO actually speaks for just a fraction of the state’s cyclists — mostly the tiny minority of exclusively Vehicular Cyclists who actively oppose separate cycling infrastructure of any kind.

Let alone understand the conflict between Vehicular Cyclists and more mainstream riders, who may ride vehicularly when appropriate, but prefer effective infrastructure over sharing uncontrolled streets with dangerous motor vehicles.

I have no problem with CABO fighting for what they believe in — even when it goes against my own interests, as well as the majority of riders in the state.

But I do have a problem when they imply — if by name only — that their positions reflect anything other than the small number of riders they represent.

It’s time to speak up.

And tell your state representatives that CABO does not speak for you.

And you want AB 819 passed in its original form.

Update: Sam Ollinger of the excellent Bike SD contacted the Channel Islands Bicycle Club, which wrote back to say they are not, and never have been, members of CABO. Instead, they support the California Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Cyclists.

Also, Sam made a suggestion I should have thought of – contacting the members of the Transportation Committee directly to let them know that CABO does not speak for you, and ask them to reconsider their ill-advised changes to AB 819.

Update 2: Jim Parent, Chairman of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition — which I mistakenly referred to as the San Diego Bicycle Coalition — reports they are members of CABO, as well as the CBC. 


I had promised that I would look at the startling stats behind last years Southern California bicycling fatalities this week, after remembering the names behind the numbers. But an usually heavy workload has kept me from being able to do that; I’ll try to get it in the coming days.

State cycling group sides with AAA to stand in the way of cycling safety

Frankly, I expected a drivers’ organization to oppose California’s proposed three-foot passing law.

When it’s come up for a vote before, a number of organizations have stood in it’s way, from AAA and truckers groups to, inexplicably, the California Highway Patrol.

Even though safe driving — that is, not running over cyclists or forcing us off the road — would seem to be in everyone’s interest.

But I didn’t expect a state-wide cycling organization to oppose a commonsense law that would make California streets safer for everyone who rides them.

Then again, maybe I should have, considering that they’ve already come out against the Idaho Stop Law that would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yields — a law that has proved remarkably successful in its home state, and is the envy and desire of cyclists around the country.

Myself included.

While everyone from the more mainstream California Bicycle Association to Mayor of Los Angeles support the bill, the California Association of Bicycling Organizations has come out strongly against SB 910. That bill, which recently passed the state Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee on the 6-3 vote, would establish a minimum three-foot passing distance for drivers passing cyclists, as well as establishing a maximum 15 mph speed differential when passing closer than that.

According to CABO’s website, one reason they oppose the bill is that they don’t believe three feet is “measurable or enforceable in practice.”


As it now stands, motorists are required to pass bicyclists at a safe distance without interfering with their safe operation. But there is absolutely no standard what a safe distance is.

While some drivers thankfully interpret it as giving cyclists a wide birth when they pass, others consider anything short of actually running over a rider to be perfectly acceptable. As virtually any cyclist who has ridden California roads for any amount of time can attest, it’s not the least bit uncommon to be passed with anything from a couple feet to mere inches of clearance.

Or to have a motorist squeeze by in same lane with so little margin for error that a simple sneeze on either party’s part could lead to a dangerous collision.

But under the existing standard, if you don’t actually get hit or knocked off your bike, it’s a safe — and therefore legal — pass. Even if it scared the crap out of you or made you struggle to avoid losing control.

And let’s not forget that the slipstream of a moving vehicle can sometimes be enough to make a cyclist lose control or knock you off your bike.

Despite their protestations, it’s actually the current vague standard that’s impossible to measure, giving drivers no guidance whatsoever as to how close they should or shouldn’t pass. And providing no objective standard for law enforcement, leading to judgment calls that can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another, and from officer to officer.

The three foot standard was never intended as an exact measurement. No one will ever pull out a tape measure to determine if a car is 35” or 37” from the cyclist being passed.

But any trained police officer should be able tell if a driver is passing significantly less than that. Just as any cyclist knows when a car is passing too close.

As a simple guide, the average adult arm is far less than three feet long. So if a cyclist could reach out and come anywhere near touching a passing vehicle, it’s in clear violation of the law. Under the current standard, though, it could come far closer as long as it doesn’t actually interfere with the operation of your bike.

The problem with that is that it allows no margin for error. Any unexpected action by either party could lead to a disastrous collision. Evidently, CABO has no problem with that, since they think the current standard is just fine, thank you.

Three feet merely provides, for the first time, an enforceable standard, giving motorists a yardstick — pun intended — to measure, not how close they should come, but the minimum distance they should stay away. And offers police a way to judge, without guessing, when a vehicle is too close.

Does it mean, as CABO suggests, that a three-foot law will encourage drivers to pass closer than they should under some situations, such as when driving large vehicles or travelling at high speeds?

You mean they don’t already?

Obviously, there are situations where more than three feet of clearance should be given. But I’ll gladly settle for 36 inches as opposed to the current standard of anything goes. And don’t forget, that’s a minimum standard; drivers are more than welcome to give more space when passing.

To be fair, though, I do agree with CABO on a couple points.

For instance, the proposed law contains an exemption allowing drivers to pass cyclists with less than three feet clearance, as long as they slow down to no more than 15 mph faster than the bike being passed.

In other words, if you’re riding at 15 mph, a driver wouldn’t have to give you three feet as long as they were travelling at no more than 30 mph.

I don’t think so.

I don’t know of any objective way for a driver or law enforcement officer to know just what the speed differential is between any two passing vehicles.

And frankly, I don’t want a driver trying to squeeze by at 10 mph above my speed any more than I want one doing it at 20, 30 or 40.

Even at the slower speeds, it would do nothing to reduce the possibility that either party might swerve unexpectedly. So it would do little to reduce the risk of a collision, but merely limit the severity.

And personally, I’d rather not get hit at any speed, thank you,

We’re also in agreement that drivers should be allowed to briefly cross double yellow lines in order to pass a bike; many drivers — myself included — do that anyway. As long as the other side of the road is clear, there’s far less risk in briefly putting two wheels across the center line than in passing a rider too closely.

Others have argued that the failure to enforce similar laws in other areas suggests that it will fail here, as well. But it’s up to the cyclists and citizens in those states to get police to enforce the laws on the books, rather than our responsibility to avoid passing much needed laws.

After all, if the police somewhere else stopped enforcing their laws against armed robbery, that wouldn’t be a reason to take ours off the books.

There are provisions in the proposal that can and should be changed, and places where the wording could be tightened up to avoid unintended complications. However, there’s still plenty of time left to improve the bill before it comes up for a final vote.

But let’s face it. You don’t have to talk to many California cyclists to realize that our current law is a complete, abject and utter failure that puts every rider on our roads at needless risk.

And a three-foot passing law is a vital first step in correcting it.

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