New Law Requires Cars to Stay 3 Feet Away from Cyclists

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SACRAMENTO -

Starting Tuesday, a new California law requires drivers to stay at least three feet away from cyclists.

"If they can't give them three feet, what they're supposed to do is slow down to a speed that's reasonable and prudent," CHP spokesperson Chad Hertzell said.

Hertzell says cyclists can also drive in the middle of the road if there's not enough space for cars to pass. He says there's good reason behind the rule.

"In 2011, we had 140 bicyclists killed in collisions," Hertzell said.

Bicyclists like John Bryan often fear they're just inches away from injury on the road.

"People usually don't pay attention and will take a turn in front of a bicyclist without really being aware of their surroundings," Bryan said.

But Bryan said bicyclists should be held accountable for accidents, too.

"I'm ashamed of the way a lot of bicyclists travel on the road," Bryan said.

He says many bicyclists cut and weave roads, or ride on sidewalks. Others feel bicyclists could be better protected.

"I think it should be expanded to five feet," said bicyclist John McCarthy.

He feels that the law doesn't go far enough.

"Three feet is not a lot of room when you're talking about being on a bicycle and when you're having to deal with a 4,000 pound vehicle," said McCarthy.

Drivers who gets too close to a bike could be fined a minimum of $35, or $220 if the crash injures the cyclist.

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