Three Feet for Safety: Bicycles in California

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recently issued a press release to remind California motorists about the new law regarding the distance between automobiles and bicycles on roadways. On September 16, 2014, motorists will be required to allow at least three feet of distance between their vehicle and a bicycle when overtaking or passing a cyclist. If it’s not possible to allow three feet, drivers must slow down and wait to pass cyclists when there is no danger present. This law is designed to improve cyclist safety across the state.

Bicycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities

• In 2012, 153 bicyclists were killed in crashes in California
• Only one percent of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle.
• Cyclists accounted for two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2012.
• In 2012, 726 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes across the U.S.
• 69 percent of all cyclist deaths in 2012 occurred in urban areas.

Bicycle Safety for Children

The CHP is quick to point out that with kids going back to school, there are likely going to be more young-adult cyclists on the road, heading to and from school. The CHP is partnering with to increase bicycle safety for children in California. Listed below are some important bicycle safety tips for kids.

Bike Safety Tips for Kids

• Always wear a helmet.
• Remind children to ride on the right side of the road, as far right as they can.
• Teach children to use appropriate hand signals, and to obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Encourage children to make eye contact with drivers.
• Wear brightly colored clothing, and make use of reflectors and lights, especially at dawn or dusk.
• Always supervise children, until you’re sure they’re safe to ride on their own.

Keeping Roadways Safe

Sadly, cyclists, along with pedestrians, are one of the only roadway user groups who continue to see a rise in roadway crash fatalities and injuries each year. Hopefully, this new law will help to improve roadway safety for children and adults riding bicycles in San Diego and across the state.

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