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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure how many people on here that area also Bicycle Colorado members or on their email list; if you aren't or otherwise don't know - there is a bill (sb 148) that is currently at the State house that will improve bicycle safety in several areas. the bill passed the state senate and is now up for vote as soon as Friday in the state house. It barely passed the house transportation committee so it is expected to have a fight on the floor; if you are a Colorado resident (and registered to vote) and you care about this bill, it would probably be a good idea to let your state (not federal) representatives know.

Here is a link to the Bicycle Colorado page about this
 

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Even though I'm a Texas resident, I belong to Bicycle Colorado since I ride there as often as possible.

And I just received that e-mail.

Not surprising who is opposing this bill.

We have a similar bill in progress down here. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Since there are some major bike tours and obviously tourist considerations for the state, it's a shame some of those organizations aren't seriously supporting the bill.

The Denver Post alone should be all over it.
 

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There seems to be 4 parts to this bill - 3 feet to pass, clarifying "right to the right", clarifying the side by side law, and anti-harassment.

I'm all for the clarifications. The other two, I'm not so sure about.

I hate to admit it, but I'm a bit on Larimer Counties wonderful Sheriff Alderden on this one. How is it possible to enforce the 3 foot rule? I'll profess ignorance here, but if one were to get a ticket for not allowing 3 feet, how could it possibly hold up in court unless contact was made? As for the anti-harassment portion, it just seems like most of these would come down to he-said she-said and come to nothing.

I'm not a big fan of symbolic gestures or laws - putting a law on the books to raise people's awareness just doesn't work. They're aware of it for a day when it's in the paper or on the news, and then they forget it. Case in point - young girl was killed recently in Fort Collins by driver that was chatting on a cell phone. I have a couple of friends that live in that neighborhood, they all said they saw fewer people on cell phones while driving for a week, then it was back to the old ways.

Flame away. I'm not trolling, just stating what is probably going to be a wildly unpopular point of view on this one. I am interested in others opinions and will admit I was dead wrong if anyone raises compelling points (which probably won't be hard).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
godot said:
There seems to be 4 parts to this bill - 3 feet to pass, clarifying "right to the right", clarifying the side by side law, and anti-harassment.

I'm all for the clarifications. The other two, I'm not so sure about.

I hate to admit it, but I'm a bit on Larimer Counties wonderful Sheriff Alderden on this one. How is it possible to enforce the 3 foot rule? I'll profess ignorance here, but if one were to get a ticket for not allowing 3 feet, how could it possibly hold up in court unless contact was made? As for the anti-harassment portion, it just seems like most of these would come down to he-said she-said and come to nothing.

I'm not a big fan of symbolic gestures or laws - putting a law on the books to raise people's awareness just doesn't work. They're aware of it for a day when it's in the paper or on the news, and then they forget it. Case in point - young girl was killed recently in Fort Collins by driver that was chatting on a cell phone. I have a couple of friends that live in that neighborhood, they all said they saw fewer people on cell phones while driving for a week, then it was back to the old ways.

Flame away. I'm not trolling, just stating what is probably going to be a wildly unpopular point of view on this one. I am interested in others opinions and will admit I was dead wrong if anyone raises compelling points (which probably won't be hard).

I see your point; however it is no different than following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, etc - it will require the discretion of the officer to make the call for the passing distance. In many ways I see it as a hope of making the roads a bit safer; however at least getting some more teeth in the law for when a cyclist is hit is a move in a good direction as the laws in most states are written so hitting and/or killing a cyclist barely gets a slap on the wrist - I see this as a step towards correcting that.
The creation of the law about crowding a cyclist being careless driving gives DAs and others more teeth for when a cyclist is hit as it is obvious that they had to break the law to hit them.

I do like that it officially allows motorists to cross a double yellow line to pass as it is technically illegal to do so now, I also like that it is a higher offense for the "missiles" (class 2 misdemeanor vs class 1 petty) and the further clarification of the single file vs double etc.
 

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godot................I hate to admit it said:
Enforce the three foot rule?

Definition -
Enforce : 1. to put or keep in force; compel obedience to: to enforce a rule; Traffic laws will be strictly enforced.


How many other laws are impossible to compel obedience to? Speed limits? Red lights? Stop signs? .......Murder? These laws are broken every day. Traffic cameras don't stop people from running red lights. They just catch you.

What happens is punishment if you get caught. IF a vehicle hits a cyclist, that pretty much means they didn't give three feet and will get the punishment, although undoubtedly meager.

Our BEST hope is that having this law would encourage many people to give us a little room. Like laws regarding discharging firearms inside the city limits. Impossible to enforce but most citizens decide to follow that law of their own accord.

One of the disturbing things is the trucker association fighting the law. Last time I rode Fremont Pass into Leadville every dump truck driver seemed to be making a game of how close they could come to riders on the tour in which I was participating. It really got scary but more than that, absolutely ridiculous. Why don't these associations focus on safety?
 

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Utah's similar law

Utah has a similar law that requires vehicles give cyclists 3-feet to pass. Sounds good in theory, but yes, as the above posts point out.......how do you enforce it? The majority of cars certainly don't give me 3-feet to pass and I don't think most motorists even know about the rule; I wouldn't if I wasn't a cyclist. I wish there was an easy, feasbile answer to bike safety that would allow cars and cyclists to exist together! Maybe we should elect Lance Armstrong for President and have him build paved bike paths alongside all major roads in every city :)
 

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One more law that won't/can't be enforced. Wish it could, it would be nice, but I don't see it curing the aggressive driving by idjuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Chain said:
One more law that won't/can't be enforced. Wish it could, it would be nice, but I don't see it curing the aggressive driving by idjuts.
So since one part is discretionary (as are many other vehicular laws) then we should throw the baby out with the bathwater and not support the rest of the law that is starting to make progress towards giving a driver something other than a slap on the wrist when they hit or assault a cyclist?

Sure, I'd love a utopia where it is truly safe to ride and all drivers are aware and respectful of cyclists; but since we are a ways a way from that; I'd at least like to be able to suspend or revoke a driver's license as a result of hitting a cyclist; heck a little bit of court time to face what they did vs just a piece of paper they mail in with a check would be nice.

btw - I don't speak for Bicycle Colorado in any way, only myself.
 

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Florida has the 3 foot law, which as above mentioned isn't enforced at all. The only time it is enforced is when a biker is struck from behind, and he remembers to tell the police officer as most don't even know it, it will get added to the drivers citation. Helps when filing against a drivers insurance, if they happen to have any.
 
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spookyload said:
Florida has the 3 foot law, which as above mentioned isn't enforced at all. The only time it is enforced is when a biker is struck from behind, and he remembers to tell the police officer as most don't even know it, it will get added to the drivers citation. Helps when filing against a drivers insurance, if they happen to have any.

Exactly, its not enforced at all here in Florida. The law sounds great but I can't tell anyone knows about it. If I am buzzed on the road and catch up to the car I always start by asking if they know how much room the law requires, they never do. Asking other cyclists and most of them don't know it either. Both of those are signs to me that it is almost never ticketed. Think about it, how often do you hear someone talk about the speeding ticket they got, and how much the fine was, when was the last time you overheard someone explaining being 10 minutes late because they got pulled over for violating the 3 foot rule?

I don't buy however that its not enforceable. Yes, there is no such thing as a 3 foot gun right now, like there is with radar or laser for speed but plenty of law enforcement vehicles have video cameras. And even if its not caught on tape if you believe the argument that a 3 foot citation won't hold up in court then how would running a stop sign, wearing a seatbelt etc ever hold up? If your word versus the police is all it takes to get off there is little you can't get away with. CSI doesn't have time to build little models and analyze your hair samples for traffic violations.
 

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I just got this from my representative:

Thank you for writing. I think that biker safety is very important, but I
still voted against SB 148 in committee because of the unintended
consequences. In some cases, in order to obey the 3-feet rule, drivers would
have to cross over on a double yellow line. This would create a danger to
everyone on the road. The sheriffs came down to the capitol to talk to us
about this bill and their concerns. Specifically, they feel that this bill
creates dangerous situations and is unenforceable.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

Sincerely,
Representative Glenn Vaad
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
ahaid said:
I just got this from my representative:

Thank you for writing. I think that biker safety is very important, but I
still voted against SB 148 in committee because of the unintended
consequences. In some cases, in order to obey the 3-feet rule, drivers would
have to cross over on a double yellow line. This would create a danger to
everyone on the road. The sheriffs came down to the capitol to talk to us
about this bill and their concerns. Specifically, they feel that this bill
creates dangerous situations and is unenforceable.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

Sincerely,
Representative Glenn Vaad
Rep Vaad really doesn't think safety is important - the bill states that the passing vehicle needs to give the oncoming vehicle access to half the road, and unless the passing vehicle can give the oncoming vehicle half of the road AND give 3 feet to the cyclist, then it has to wait to pass.
So in essence Rep. Vaad is saying that less than 3 feet is ok so as to not inconvenience the driver of the passing vehicle and the safety of the cyclist is inconsequential.

but then again - at least Rep. Vaad got back to you, Rep. Benefield has never responded to any questions or comments I have mailed, email, or called in.


vote on second reading was laid over to possibly tomorrow according to the Colorado General Assembly website, has to pass second reading (last chance to add amendments) and then go onto final third reading before it can fully pass and go out for signature.

For an FYI to those that care, this is how the house committee voted:
Baumgardner -No
Fischer -Yes
Frangas -Yes
King S. - Yes
Looper - No
McNulty - Yes
Merrifield - Yes
Primavera - Yes
Vaad - No
Green - Yes
McFadyen - Yes
 

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I think Vaad is just being realistic.

No cop is going to pull a driver over solely for violating a 3 foot law. At best this law would a minor add-on to the list of charges brought against a driver that actually hits a cyclist.

The representatives were most likely told by the sheriff's that they don't want this law and either can't or won't enforce it. Yes, it is their job to enforce all laws, but we all know that things just don't work that way. So, if this bill passes Bicycle Colorado and other cycling advocacy's can claim victory, but nothing will actually change on the roadways.

Based on reader feedback in the Coloradoan towards all things cyclist related, it seems to me that before the cycling community goes public pushing for laws to protect them that the cycling community needs to clean up its act and start obeying traffic laws. Maybe if cyclists as a community were better behaved on the roadways there would be less resistance to efforts like this bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
godot said:
I think Vaad is just being realistic.

No cop is going to pull a driver over solely for violating a 3 foot law. At best this law would a minor add-on to the list of charges brought against a driver that actually hits a cyclist.

The representatives were most likely told by the sheriff's that they don't want this law and either can't or won't enforce it. Yes, it is their job to enforce all laws, but we all know that things just don't work that way. So, if this bill passes Bicycle Colorado and other cycling advocacy's can claim victory, but nothing will actually change on the roadways.

Based on reader feedback in the Coloradoan towards all things cyclist related, it seems to me that before the cycling community goes public pushing for laws to protect them that the cycling community needs to clean up its act and start obeying traffic laws. Maybe if cyclists as a community were better behaved on the roadways there would be less resistance to efforts like this bill.
So its realistic to expect a car to pass you so close that barely flinching will get you hit just so it doesn't have to cross the yellow line? That's what Vaad is effectively saying - being able to and/or needing to cross the line will be too dangerous according to him. I call total and complete BS on that. If the situation is dangerous after the bill; it sure as heck was dangerous before the bill and the bill did absolutely nothing to change it. As for the harassment part that you disliked earlier, its been amended out of the bill already.

As for cyclists cleaning up their act; I'll make you a deal. Pick an intersection in a metro area and count up all the infractions by drivers and all those by cyclists, if the cyclists' infractions outnumber the drivers', then I'll agree with you. Most drivers think its illegal to ride on the roadways to begin with, so quite a few of their opinions are very ignorant. I'd really like a much stricter control of driver's licenses that actually test on knowledge of vehicular law covering the laws governing all vehicles and not just a smattering of a few motor vehicle laws and make such testing mandatory every several years; but in this society of entitlement, that will never happen.

I still can't fathom how so many drivers feel that a 3second delay in their day (the time it takes to pass most bicyclists) is worth the life of the cyclist.

BTW - laws rarely change things, its been illegal to kill someone for a very long time, yet people still do it. Laws are reactionary in nature as they only take force once you've broken it. I don't think that getting this law passed will miraculously make things safer. I do think it starts a much needed change in the laws......

eh never mind - I might as well be trying to convince people the sky is pink I guess... funny thing though, I actually got agreement from most on a 4x board that this should be passed, weird days I tell ya...
 

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I started off by saying I didn't think the 3 feet to pass thing would make any change in driver behavior. Others that live in states with a similar law on the books, chimed in and agreed with me. You even admit the law will change nothing.

I too will never be able to understand why a driver can't wait 5 seconds to safely pass a bicycle.

All I meant by my comment about cyclists cleaning up their act was that we are a visible minority on the road that has a deserved bad reputation with drivers (and obviously drivers aren't innocent either). I can sit in downtown Fort Collins and watch cyclists riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on roads, running stop signs in front of traffic and running red lights in front of traffic. I feel that bills such as this wouldn't meet nearly as much resistance if the cycling community did a better job obeying traffic laws.

There are idiot drivers and there are idiot cyclists. No amount of education, training or adding laws to the books is going to change that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
godot said:
I started off by saying I didn't think the 3 feet to pass thing would make any change in driver behavior. Others that live in states with a similar law on the books, chimed in and agreed with me. You even admit the law will change nothing.

I too will never be able to understand why a driver can't wait 5 seconds to safely pass a bicycle.

All I meant by my comment about cyclists cleaning up their act was that we are a visible minority on the road that has a deserved bad reputation with drivers (and obviously drivers aren't innocent either). I can sit in downtown Fort Collins and watch cyclists riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on roads, running stop signs in front of traffic and running red lights in front of traffic. I feel that bills such as this wouldn't meet nearly as much resistance if the cycling community did a better job obeying traffic laws.

There are idiot drivers and there are idiot cyclists. No amount of education, training or adding laws to the books is going to change that.
I can't argue with you on any of the above

- though I would say that while I agree that the law won't change anything right away; I can hope that if word of it gets around and drivers start getting more than a 30day deferred sentence for hitting a cyclist; then maybe some good may come. I also know quite a few officers that are planning on enforcing the 3foot rule if it passes; so I feel that the lovely sheriff may be in the minority of those that will refuse to enforce the law

Unfortunately, college towns seem to be a gathering spot for stupid behavior, and that includes cyclists as well. There needs to be a lot of educating in our society though I could go on a diatribe about kids needing to learn respect, common sense, and common decency today; but then I'd be focusing on the minority as well.


no hard feelings here godot or others; just been a frustrating couple weeks and I guess taking this bill a bit too personal.
 

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I agree with Godot. We cannot change driver behavior until we change our behavior on the road. As long as we the cyclists continue to run red lights, blow through stop signs, ride double file when it is not safe, and many other things that we do that breaks laws we will not be respected by drivers or the police. It seems to me that every cycling season, the cyclists get worst. When I first started road riding six years ago, I did not notice very many cyclists breaking the rules, but every weekend I see more and more rules broken (mainly stop signs blown through and riding through red lights). You can say the same thing here on these two infractions as you have said about drivers waiting five seconds before passing you safely. Does it really take that much longer to get to your destination to stop at a stop sign for five seconds?
I agree drivers break rules, but unfortunately driving is the norm in this country. As long as the cyclists act like they are above the law they will not get the respect they are asking for from the drivers and bills like this that are being passed will never be enforced.
 

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I live in Fort Collins, or technically just outside of the city in Larimer County, right smack in the jurisdiction of the famous/notorious Larimer County Sheriff. From both points of view, as a cyclist and a motorist, I think I will see beneficial effects should this law get passed.

I have ZERO expectation that the three foot rule will change the behavior of those ignorant or willful idiots who want to buzz me out on the county roads to prove a point. However, my understanding is that this rule gives me (now as a driver in my vehicle) the right to cross the yellow line IN A SAFE MANNER when overtaking a cyclist on the roadway. How is this any more unsafe than when I pass another vehicle, or an SMV (Slow Moving Vehicle) like a tractor or other farm vehicle on those same county roads?

Also, as a motor vehicle operator how is this three foot rule any more or less enforceable than say the distance behind which I'm allowed to follow an ambulance or fire truck, the distance within which I'm supposed to park of the curb, the distance from railroad tracks that I have to stop at a crossing, a safe following distance behind another vehicle? I expect that law enforcement will treat this distance the same as any of those: based on their judgment, reasonableness, and surrounding, prevailing conditions. I would ask no more.

I cringe when I am told that cyclists should somehow, as a group, clean up their act. I wish it were so. I can no more influence the behavior of some cyclist on the road than I can of the driver in the car ahead of mine. I can gesture and yell and shake my head, but that's mostly for me to feel better. While you may have groups of cyclists that share information based on common interests, like those on this board, you have the same with groups of auto enthusiasts, car clubs, or 4WD groups. But getting your arms around all motorists or all cyclists is impossible. Education, training, signage all help, but in the end it's only the laws that create the obligation. It's not completely effective, but what is better?
 

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godot said:
I started off by saying I didn't think the 3 feet to pass thing would make any change in driver behavior. Others that live in states with a similar law on the books, chimed in and agreed with me. You even admit the law will change nothing.

I too will never be able to understand why a driver can't wait 5 seconds to safely pass a bicycle.

All I meant by my comment about cyclists cleaning up their act was that we are a visible minority on the road that has a deserved bad reputation with drivers (and obviously drivers aren't innocent either). I can sit in downtown Fort Collins and watch cyclists riding on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on roads, running stop signs in front of traffic and running red lights in front of traffic. I feel that bills such as this wouldn't meet nearly as much resistance if the cycling community did a better job obeying traffic laws.

There are idiot drivers and there are idiot cyclists. No amount of education, training or adding laws to the books is going to change that.
How many cyclists have killed motorists? If I see a person jaywalking I don't worry about the life of my friends and family. When I see 2 kilo pound missles aimed randomly down the street I do worry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
it passed the second reading with some amendments to the two abreast sections. From the way I read it, if it passes this will be the new ruling on that:

you cannot ride two or more abreast if:
- on a state highway with lanes that are less than 12ft wide.

You can ride two wide if
- on a state highway with lanes wider than 12feet
- there are no other cars going the same direction as you regardless of lane width
- the laned road is too narrow for a motor vehicle to safely pass a single cyclist.
- if on a road other than a state highway and other applicable laws do not prohibit it

You can ride two or more if
- all are fully on shoulder or path

Passing is legal in all situations above

link to amended bill - http://tiny.cc/xToJ1

The 3foot to pass, crowding or threatening, and "missile" sections are still intact.

looks like we might want to add a tape measure to or tool kits.
 
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