A Chula Vista couple is advocating for a new law that would change how drivers pass cyclists on the road. The current law states drivers should “maintain a safe distance,” but it does not specify how far.
The new law would mandate that drivers have three feet of “buffer” space when passing a cyclist. If there is not enough room, they have to wait until passing “would not endanger the cyclist’s safety.”
The couple is motivated by grief, as well as their passion for change. They lost their son in a cycling accident earlier this year.
On August 8, the 33-year-old cyclist was hit by a teenage driver in a pickup truck while biking down a fairly quiet road. The teen was hauling a horse trailer at the time, so he may not have been familiar with the weight or movement of the larger vehicle.
Could New Laws Help Protect Cyclists?
The couple advocating for the new law is hopeful that it will bring change, but they do not believe it goes far enough. Their ideal law would force drivers to change lanes completely when passing a cyclist.
Drivers may not have the option to change lanes on single-lane highways or side streets, leading some to criticize the proposed law.
In 2011 and 2012, Governor Jerry Brown struck down laws containing this provision, citing concerns that the lane changes could cause more accidents or make the state liable for collisions.
Pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable users on the road, with few safety features to protect them. Several states are trying to implement new laws to protect “vulnerable users,” but distracted drivers continue to kill thousands every year.
As both an avid San Diego cyclist and an acclaimed personal injury attorney, Frederick M. Dudek knows both the challenges and dangers facing San Diego cyclists. If your bicycle accident was caused by negligence, choose an attorney who knows cycling.
[Did You Know: The proposed law was sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was injured in a cycling accident in 2010.]
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego bicycle accident lawyer