Houston has already enacted a city ordinance ordering vehicles to maintain a certain distance from cyclists when driving behind or passing them on the road. Now California has enacted a similar statewide law. The California “Three Feet for Safety Act” requires drivers of motor vehicles to do exactly what you would expect which is to stay at least 3 feet away from cyclists when driving behind or attempting to pass a bicyclist on a California road. If the road or traffic does not allow for a three-foot safety barrier, the driver must slow to a speed that is reasonable and/or prudent. The old state law had similar language although it did not specify a distance to maintain or use the terms reasonable or prudent to describe the necessary speed reduction.
Like Houston, the cities in California are enjoying growth in the cycling community with more people adopting a more active or healthier life style. This is very prevalent in San Diego. Some cyclists there believe that the new state law will do little to improve safety for cyclists, although it should raise awareness over the issue of cycling safety. Instead many cyclists are calling for a new cycling infrastructure to be built in their cities. They believe this is the best way to protect riders on the busy California roads. Houston once again seems to be keeping up with this trend, leading the way with the construction of the new on street safety bike lane.