Breaking news: Evidently, Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t care if you live or die

Once again, Jerry Brown is demonstrating just how out of touch he is with the realities of California streets.

And just how little he cares about the safety of the state’s cyclists.

The California Bicycle Coalition reports that Brown has decided to veto SB 1464, the bill mandating a minimum three-foot distance to pass cyclists. This comes after he vetoed a much stronger bill last year, making him the only governor to veto a safe passing bill twice.

And continuing to align him with Texas Governor Rick Perry as the only jackasses governors to veto a three-foot passing law.

Last year, he offered an excuse that didn’t pass the smell test, claiming a provision allowing drivers to pass cyclists at less than three feet by slowing down to 15 mph — included to prevent traffic jams by allowing drivers to pass cyclists in congested traffic and near intersections — would cause motorists to slam on the brakes to pass riders on highways, rather than simply go around them or wait for a chance to pass safely.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

This time, the reason given for the veto is an irrational fear that the state could face liability for the provision allowing motorists to briefly cross the center line to pass cyclists, but only when safe to do so.

In other words, legalizing what is already a common practice — and putting the onus on drivers to ensure it’s safe first.

Which makes the feared liability risk as much a fiction as last years brake-slamming drivers.

And this after writing in his veto message that he wanted lawmakers to send him a bill that overcame the problems he cited with last year’s bill. Which the much-weakened SB 1464 did, in spades.

Combine this with Brown’s veto of SB 1310, a bill that would have increased fines for distracted driving by a minimal $10 while adding one point to a driver’s record — after vetoing a similar bill last year — and it suggests that Brown either has no clue what is really happening on our roadways, or just doesn’t give a damn whether we live or die on California streets.

More frightening, Calbike reports that Brown has refused to engage them directly to discuss this bill, or any other aspect of bike safety:

Despite our efforts to engage him directly, Brown has offered no indication of how he views bicycling or expressed any ideas for ensuring the safety of Californians who rely on bicycling as everyday transportation. By vetoing SB 1464, Brown makes clear that he prioritizes legalistic speculation over the safety of Californians.

We’re deeply concerned about what his lack of vision and leadership means for the safety of our streets and roads.

I couldn’t agree more.

And I deeply regret the vote I wasted on him him in 2010.

Jerry Brown was elected to lead all Californians. But he has clearly shown by his actions that he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone who travels on two wheels instead of four.

Once more, we’ve all been Jerry Browned by Jerry Brown. So what’s that saying about fool me twice?


  1. I also wish I had not voted for him.

  2. Eric W says:

    Add me to the list. I will vote for someone else for governer next election. We expected better from Jerry Brown!

  3. Wes Oishi says:

    It’s a good law. But the underlying problem is why so many drivers are so uncaring and rude to people/cyclists. Tonight, I saw a woman roadie approach a driver trying to make a L hand turn from a side street. He was jutted out and the cyclist had to swerve into traffic to pass. He had enough time to be thoughtful and courteous and back up a bit, but NO, he was so self-centered and could not be inconvenienced.

  4. boyonabike says:

    Brown is proving himself to be disturbingly anti-bike. His two vetoes of the 3-foot law, combined with his veto of the distracted driving law, I fear, will cost human lives on the roads of California. His refusal to engage CalBike on this is also evidence that he’s overtly hostile to bicyclists. Perplexing and disturbing that a political leader would be so dismissive of the safety of citizens on bikes.

  5. susan8041 says:

    i emailed brown to let him know i wouldn’t vote for him because of this being such an important issue for me. he needs to know that cyclists voted for him before but won’t do so again.

    i hope calbike & lowenthal try for a veto override. we need to take this into our own hands if he won’t support us.

  6. JD says:

    Even Linda Rhonstat vetoed his a**! Some political elite having delusions of granduer “Let them ride bikes” (ie. “Let them eat cake”). Drives himself in a beater to work instead of a state limo, maybe he should ride a skateboard without a helmet on a gravel road. What a numbskull!

  7. Eric B says:

    Are we supposed to back his tax increase if he doesn’t care whether we make it to work alive to pay those taxes?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would have been disappointed with the Governor’s veto of SB 1464 if the bill would have actually required a three-foot passing distance, but as much as advocates might have wanted to believe otherwise, it didn’t: subdivision (d) of amended vehicle code section 21750.1 would have permitted drivers to pass at lesser distances whenever necessary because of unspecified “traffic or roadway conditions.”

    This loophole made SB 1464 merely a confusing restatement of existing law, which already requires safe passing under all circumstances, and I can’t say I’m sorry that it wasn’t enacted.

    • susan8041 says:

      it’s true that sb 1464 was watered down from last year’s sb 910, and i, too, was disappointed in that. it does have the exception you cite, although it does require a car to slow down if it passes with less than 3 feet, and to move over as much as possible.

      this was the compromise that was made to get groups like AAA and CHP not to oppose it, and to get the governor to sign it.

      which is why it is even more frustrating and feels like such a betrayal, that brown vetoed it again.

      we should have gone for the veto override on last year’s better bill.

  9. […] Rogers is the author of the website Biking In L.A. and a member of the LACBC Board of Directors. After last year’s veto, Rogers and a handful of […]

  10. Opus the Poet says:

    “Fool me once, and I’m a fool, fool me twice and I kill you” G. W. Bush

  11. […] Breaking news: Evidently, Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t care if you live or die ( […]

  12. […] or ride the sidewalk.  Fortunately, midday traffic was not too heavy, though I was nearly “Jerry Browned” by a minivan that passed within inches of me so he could beat me by several seconds to a red light […]

  13. […] This current version of the bill is an attempt to address the concerns raised by Governor Brown in successive vetoes of previous 3-foot passing bills over the past two legislative sessions. The Governor, in vetoing the 3-foot passing bills, gained the dubious distinction of becoming only the second governor to do so – joining Texas’ Rick Perry. […]

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