“Give Me 3” Needs your Help!

SB 910 – the three foot safe passing distance law – is continuing to move through the legislative process. When we last reported, the bill had just passed the California State Senate by a vote of 27-9. We are happy to report that the bill is moving quickly through the legislative process and is coming up for a vote in the California State Assembly Transportation Committee on June 27, 2011. Find out how you can help get SB 910 passed after the jump!

California Capitol

CA State Capital Courtesy: Rafeal Masala

How You Can Help

The California Bicycle Coalition needs your help to let our legislators know how important SB 910 is to the bicycling community. They ask that you contact Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, the chair of the Transportation Committee, by phone, email or fax to let her know why this bill is crucial towards advancing safety for all bicyclists on the road!

The California Bicycle Coalition has provided a standardized format that you can use to contact Assemblymember Lowenthal to express your support for SB 910. Your voice will definitely make a difference as all messages of support for SB 910 will be documented and accompany the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

The deadline for calling or sending a message is 5 PM Tuesday, June 21.

Standardized Messages

Compliments of the CBC

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.

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

Please contact California Bicycling Coalition (CBC) Communications Director Jim Brown at jimbrown@calbike.org or (916) 446-7558 if you have questions or need more information.

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