California 3 Foot Passing Law (Warning: Boilerplate Post)

Below is a boilerplate email I got regarding this law. It’s important enough to repost unmodified. I’ll post my insightful comments in the future.

BEGIN BOILERPLATE POST

I’m writing to ask for your help on behalf of our 3-foot passing legislation.

Senate Bill 910, cosponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles, would require motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing from behind under most circumstances.

The California Senate approved SB 910 on June 1. On Monday, June 27, the bill will be up for a vote by the Assembly Transportation Committee. We need bicyclists like you to contact Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, the chair of the committee, by phone, email or fax to let her know why this bill is so important to the safety of all bicyclists on the road!

A file documenting all messages of support for SB 910 accompanies the bill as it moves through the legislative process. This information is read by legislators and their staff and helps make the case for the bill. Your voice definitely counts! The deadline for calling or sending a message is 5 PM Tuesday, June 21.

You can express your support for SB 910 by phone or by email or fax:

By phone

Call the Assembly Transportation Committee office at (916) 319-2093 with this message:

“My name is _________ and I’m from _________ and I’m calling to express my support for Senate Bill 910, which will be heard by the committee on June 27. SB 910 would help create safer road conditions for bicyclists in our area and help prevent the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.”

Please make this call by 5 PM next Tuesday.

By email or fax

Copy and paste the sample letter below into an email message or onto your own letterhead, add your name and location, and email it to Assemblymember.Lowenthal@assembly.ca.gov or fax it to (916) 319-2154 by 5 PM next Tuesday. Please also send a copy to the SB 910 author, Sen. Alan Lowenthal (no relation to Bonnie), at Senator.Lowenthal@senate.ca.gov or (916) 327-9113.

IMPORTANT! If you or a family member have been involved in a collision or fall in California because a motor vehicle passed too close, briefly summarize the facts in your letter. The information is essential for showing why this law is needed.

I hope we can count on your support. Please contact Communications Director Jim Brown at jimbrown@calbike.org or (916) 446-7558 if you have questions or need more information.

Thanks!

PS: To learn more about SB 910 and tell the world what you’d do with more space on the road, visit our Give Me 3 campaign site.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

SAMPLE SUPPORT LETTER

June 16, 2011

Hon. Bonnie Lowenthal

Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee

State Capitol, Room 3152

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: 916-319-2154

Re: SB 910 (Lowenthal) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Lowenthal,

I’m a bicyclist and I’m writing to express my support for Senate Bill 910, which will be heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee on June 27.

Bicyclists too often face dangerous conditions on California’s streets and roads due to motorists passing too closely. When this happens, the slightest error by the motorist or the most minor shift by the bicyclist to avoid trash, broken glass or rough pavement can lead to a collision. This type of collision is the leading cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the U.S.

By requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing, SB 910 can help prevent deadly collisions and make more people feel comfortable about choosing to ride their bikes. The bill modifies existing state law that requires 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.

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 expresses a motorist’s special responsibility to share the road safely with more vulnerable road users like bicyclists.

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

Sincerely,

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CC: Sen. Alan Lowenthal

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO WIN

Winning passage of SB 910 requires the support of everyone who cares about safer road conditions for bicyclists, including support for the staff resources needed to promote this bill before the Legislature.

Please consider making an online donation today to help us get this bill enacted.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA BICYCLE COALITION

The California Bicycle Coalition is a non-profit education and lobbying organization working to improve bicycling conditions throughout the State of California. CBC’s mission is to create safe, healthy and livable communities in California by promoting bicycling for transportation and recreation. Learn more about CBC.

END BOILERPLATE POST

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