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New Calif. law: Drivers must give bikes 3 feet of space before passing




Cyclists and California Highway Patrol officers demonstrate what three feet between cars and bikes looks like. Starting September 16, drivers must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance.
Cyclists and California Highway Patrol officers demonstrate what three feet between cars and bikes looks like. Starting September 16, drivers must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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A new law takes effect in California Tuesday: Drivers must give bicyclists three feet as they pass them on the road.

"Prior to this law, there was no clearly defined safe passing distance," says Colin Bogart from the LA County Bicycle Coalition.

But most people don't hold a yard stick out their passenger side window. So, what's three feet anyway?

"I think people have a good sense of what three feet looks like without realizing it," says Bogart.

One way to think about it is if a biker can reach out his or her arm and touch your vehicle, you're probably closer than three feet.

Here's how the law works:

Here are a few more examples of laws, some specific to LA County, that Bogart says more people should be aware of:

For more info on bicycle safety, the California DMV publishes its own guide and the California Bike Coalition has a list of rules that apply across the state.

We went for a bike ride with Bogart to navigate the new law. Have a listen at the link above.