A new California bicycle buffer law goes into effect tomorrow, September 16th. Motorists will now legally be required to keep a three foot buffer between their vehicles and bicyclists. California will be come the 22nd state to enact a bicycle buffer zone law.
The new law states that drivers of cars, trucks, and other vehicles must provide at least three feet of space between their vehicle and the bicycle when passing a bicyclist. If a vehicle cannot maintain three feet of space, the vehicle must wait until there is enough space to legally pass the bicycle. The new law is an extension of common courtesy, but an act of courtesy often ignored by drivers.
Now, drivers whom fail to provide the three foot buffer could face fines of $35 for performing an unsafe pass. Should a driver fail to provide the three foot buffer and injure a bicyclist, the fine would be over $150 and the driver could be liable for the cost of the bicyclist's injury.
The new law is a reminder that bicycles are considered vehicles, entitled to (and subjected to) all the rules of the road. Expect to see numerous public awareness campaigns about the new buffer law.