Updated: May 5
California’s new year came in with some new laws. One of the new laws taking that has been set in motion will require drivers to change lanes when passing a bicyclist.
Back in 2014, Californians were only required to maintain a 3-foot distance from a bicyclist in order to make sure bicyclists are safe when driving alongside traffic.
Fast forward to 2023, the new law called the Three Feet for Safety Act makes it so that drivers must move over to an available lane in order to pass a bicyclist. If there is not an available lane for the driver to move over to, the driver may only pass the bicyclist if they stay 3 feet away and drive slowly.
If someone were to break this law, they would receive a fine. If this law is violated but does not injure the bicyclist, the driver is looking at a fine of $35. But if the bicyclist does receive an injury, the fine increases to $220.
This law is looking to decrease the number of crashes and deaths that have been caused due to car-bike accidents. According to UC Berkeley's California Active Transportation Safety Information, San Bernardino County has had 1,310 bicyclist crashes and 42 deaths between the years 2017 and 2021.
After explaining this law to students and staff members, they shared how they feel.
Senior Alejandro Lazcano explains, “In theory, the implementation of this law sounds like a good idea. But realistically, we have a large number of irresponsible and borderline dangerous drivers.” He continues, “Given this, and the already existing problem of poor bike-related infrastructure both parties are a danger to each other.”
Senior Yajaira Ramirez says, “I think that this law is beneficial for both parties. It's keeping both the cyclist and the driver safe from any accidents. This is especially safer for cyclists who are often ignored on the road and regularly put in dangerous situations when cars speed past them.
Rialto High School Health Clerk Rosa ‘Rosie’ Ledesma expresses, “I don’t see the point in it especially if they already have their own designated bike lane.” She adds, “The bike lane is supposed to give them their own space and ensure their safety from the other vehicles passing by. Having to switch a whole lane seems too much of a stretch.”
With so many new drivers on the road, some of them being Rialto High School students, it’s important to know what new traffic laws have gone into effect. This is one of many.