Bill Number and Name: AB 60: 3 Foot Passing Law
Author: Assembly member Pedro Nava (Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee)
Link to Bill Language as amended 3/5/07: www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_0051-0100/ab_60_bill_20070305_amended_asm_v98.html
Summary: Under existing law a driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction is required to pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to certain limitations and exceptions. A violation of this provision is an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 for a first conviction, and up to a $250 fine for a 3rd and subsequent conviction occurring within one year of 2 or more prior infractions. This bill would recast this provision as to overtaking a bicycle by requiring the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction to pass to the left at a safe distance, at a minimum clearance of 3 feet, without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle. The bill would make a violation of this provision an infraction punishable by a $250 fine. The bill would make it a misdemeanor or felony if a person operates a motor vehicle in violation of the above requirement and that conduct proximately a significant or substantial physical injury, or death to the bicycle operator. Because this bill would create a new crime and would expand the scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
• On May 1 Nava aide Andrea Graham thanked Pedal Power attendees for support and offered an enthusiastic justification for AB60. Sadly, she reported that the initial hearing was canceled at the request of author and the bill is not receiving further consideration in 2007.
• EBBC voted on 01/16/07 to Support w/amendments (perhaps involving driver or bicyclist education). In February, EBBC approved T-shirts with “Pass With Care” message on back. AB60 is controversial even among bicyclists and has received much press (there is no such thing as bad press).
• As Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Pedro Nava will control the first round of the fate of all of the bills bicyclists support.
• Similar laws are in effect in six states, including Arizona where it has been reported that enforcement of unsafe passing has become easier.