Whether you ride every chance you get, haven’t in years, or are somewhere in between, we are all bicyclists. As such, please consider answering the California Bicycle Coalition’s call to submit your support for Senate Bill 910 — the 3-Foot Safe Passing Distance Bill — to the following elected representatives in the State Assembly and Senate:

Here’s the email I sent in hopes of reducing harrowing incidents such as the following (I encountered in San Diego) from happening — and thus reducing the leading cause of cycling fatalities:

Hon. Bonnie Lowenthal
Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee
State Capitol, Room 3152
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Assemblymember Lowenthal,

As a dedicated bicyclist in Los Angeles I’m writing to express my support for Senate Bill 910, and to urge yours.

Having pedaled thousands of miles over the years all over our state, I’m only all too aware of the dangerous condition existing on California’s streets and roads due to motorists passing me too closely. From trucks crawling by me slowly with less than two feet of space between us to SUVs speeding past with only inches separating me from becoming another statistic, I’ve experienced every variation of this potentially deadly situation.

But regardless of the type of vehicle and how close they are to me, when such an unsafe encroachment occurs, even the slightest change in trajectory by either the motorist or myself could result in the type of collision that is the leading cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the United States.

As I understand it, SB910 modifies existing state law requiring a motorist to maintain an unspecified “safe distance” when passing a bicyclist. The California Driver’s Handbook already recommends three feet of clearance when motorists pass bicyclists. Eighteen other states have enacted similar laws, and by joining them and mandating motorists provide bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing, SB 910 will not only help reduce the number of such deadly collisions, but will help increase the number of cyclists who choose to ride their bikes — whether it’s to work or for recreation.

A specified passing distance provides a more objective and easily understood definition for “safe passing” and gives law enforcement and the courts a more objective basis for enforcing California’s safe passing requirement. Most importantly, it enforces the special responsibility motorists have to share the road safely with more vulnerable road users like bicyclists.

I hope I can count on your support for SB 910.

Sincerely,

William Campbell

CC: Sen. Alan Lowenthal