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California law: 3 feet will protect those on 2 wheels

You don't have to go very far to find a bicyclist in Los Angeles. For convenience, cost and environmental purposes, there are thousands of people who bike instead of drive. However, one downside of biking in this city is the fact that not all drivers take seriously their responsibility to share the road with bikers. 

Safety campaigns and awareness programs have been developed to inform drivers and cyclists about how to stay safe and avoid accidents, but there are also laws in place to protect bicyclists in this state. It could be very important for residents in Los Angeles to know that one such law will be going into effect this month.

The new law is called The Three Feet for Safety Act. It stipulates that motorists must give bikers at least three feet of room when passing them. Increasing the amount of space between bikes and vehicles is intended to keep everyone on the road safer.

Critics of the new law argue that trying to give bikes that much space could force motorists into other lanes and cause serious problems for drivers. However, reports indicate that drivers will be expected to slow down if they cannot move over when passing a bicyclist.

Those who violate this law could face fines for the offense, but they could also increase the chances of causing an accident and seriously injuring a bicyclist. Due to the size difference between cars and bikes, cyclists are at a higher risk of being catastrophically injured if they are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.

Victims of bicycle accidents should know that they have the right to file a claim against a driver who was reckless or negligent, which could be the case if a driver fails to allow three feet between the car and the bicycle. Speaking with an attorney can be an important first step in holding a driver accountable and pursuing compensation.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Drivers, start your eyeballs, the three-foot rule for cyclists is here," Sept. 8, 2014

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