The bike buffer

Should drivers be required to give bicyclists three feet of room?

It’s a controversy in California where the State Assembly has approved a measure requiring the three-feet of buffer. Drivers would be allowed to cross double solid yellow lines to provide bicyclists enough room, KPBS reports.

A similar measure was vetoed by the governor last year under the theory that it gives bicyclists a false sense of security.

But some supporters say having the law would give motorists more awareness of cyclists.

What say you?

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)

  • Bruce MacDonald

    Yes. Here in Minnesota it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law:

    169.18 DRIVING RULES Subd. 3. Passing. (3) the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the roadway shall leave a safe distance, but in no case less than three feet clearance, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual. (via Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes)

  • John P.

    No matter what the state law says, bikes are not cars. They do not fit in with or move smoothly with automobile traffic, and they never will. It seems to me that the answer is more dedicated bike lanes and bike roads. This could be at least partially funded by bike license fees, just like cars pay a license fee to use the roads.

  • Kassie

    As Mayor Bloomberg says, “Our roads are not here for automobiles. Our roads are here for people to get around.”

    So, John P., no matter what the state law says, cars are not bikes. They do not fit in with or move smoothly around bicycle traffic, and they never will. Cars should slow down and allow for the three feet of space allowed to bicyclists.

  • Chris Nelson

    I ride my bike to work every day–it can be genuinely terrifying if a car speeds past at 30 mph without giving a three foot margin.

    That said, I routinely see bikers sliding their bikes _just_ to the right of multiple cars waiting at a red light.

    The optics are horrible: 1. These cyclists appear to be cutting in line. 2. They aren’t giving the cars the same courtesy (three feet) that the cyclist will expect when the car tries to pass them 30 seconds later when the light changes.

  • Kurt Nelson

    Along with requiring a three foot buffer, we (cyclists) can also legally”take the lane” if we desire, we can also ride two abreast if we desire.

    That said, we also have to abide to all the laws that cars abide, and no I am not interested in who is worst at breaking the laws, part XXVVVXIIIX,

  • Pat M

    Kurt, you may not “take the lane” if you desire. Check out MN State Statute 169.222 Operation of a bicycle

    which says ” Subd. 4. Riding on roadway or shoulder. (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close as

    practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway “.

  • Chris H

    Pat M – as you noted the statute is “as close as

    practicable,” which means bikes can be as far into the lane as if needed for safety.