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Bill's Veto Disappoints Area Cyclists

South Bay Bicycle Coalition members speak out against Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of a law that would've required motorists to leave space or slow down for cyclists.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of proposed bicycle safety regulations now has one South Bay bicycle organization disappointed.

In a letter to Brown on behalf of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, board member and Patch columnist said that Senate Bill 910 is necessary for the safety of bicyclists.

The measure would have required drivers to give a minimum of three feet of space or slow down to 15 mph when passing cyclists on the road.

"Under current law, a bicyclist remains unprotected and in physical danger," Galliani wrote.

Measure supporters like cycling champion Lance Armstrong have agreed, arguing the law was required to reduce the number of bicyclists killed or injured by cars in California.

CalTrans, the California Highway Patrol and the American Automobile Association have lobbied against the measure, saying that it would increase the number of accidents.

In his veto message on Oct. 7, Brown said he "wholeheartedly" supports the measure's goal; however, he called the concerns raised by law enforcement agencies "legitimate."

"On streets with speed limits of 35 or 40 mph, slowing to 15 mph to pass a bicycle could cause rear end collisions," Brown wrote. "On other roads, a bicycle may travel at or near 15 mph, creating a long line of cars behind the cyclist."

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition disagreed, with Galliani pointing out that there is "no evidence in any of the other 20 states" with similar laws of an increase in collisions. (See attached document under photo for the complete letter.)

"Because of your veto, we will not benefit from the kind of improved safety that enables more people to choose bicycling for transportation, and we will not see the reduction in vehicle collisions this law would have provided," Galliani wrote.

Current law requires that motorists keep a "safe distance" when passing cyclists.

What do you think of the proposed rules under Senate Bill 910?

Gene October 20, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Blasting through signals and stop signs. Riding two abreast. impeding the flow of traffic. Poor cycling skills.... Take it from a century rider who has cycled throughout California....clean up your own house before you ask the motoring public to bend to your needs. Just say.......
Joe Galliani October 20, 2011 at 06:46 PM
The South Bay Bicycle Coalition has a zero tolerance policy for bicyclists who break the rules of the road. But to single out bicyclists while people driving motor vehicles roll through stop signs "California style," talk and text holding their phones while driving, fail to use their signals when turning and break the speed limit laws in our neighborhoods and on every street in the South Bay, is ridiculous. So is equating asking for three feet of clearance between cars and bikes as asking the motoring public to "bend to our needs." We're working on cleaning up our own house, Gene, but you need to work on some objectivity and equity.

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