Sacramento, California - The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is alerting drivers about a new law that requires them to give bicyclists, traveling in the same direction, three feet of clearance when passing. The Three Feet for Safety Act takes effect today.

According to the new law (AB1371, Bradford), signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on September 23, 2013, if traffic or roadway conditions prevent motorists from giving cyclists three feet of space, drivers must "slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent" and only pass when a cyclist will not be in danger. Violations are punishable by a $35 fine. Motorists who collide with cyclists and injure them while violating the Three Feet for Safety Act can be subject to a $220 fine. Under the previous law, a vehicle was simply required to pass to the left at a "safe distance."

Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Some bicycle related crashes are connected to the bicyclist's behavior, while others are due to the motorist's lack of attention.

  • Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules.
  • Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.

California is among 24 states that require motorists to give bicyclists three feet of clearance while passing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

For more information about safely sharing the road, check out these helpful DMV resources:
Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists, Bicycle Resources, and an Informational Video.

Save Time, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website (www.dmv.ca.gov), including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777–0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA)