News

State's 3-foot buffer zone for cyclists takes effect

New law aims to prevent car-versus-bike crashes

A new state law requiring motorists to keep a 3-foot buffer zone when overtaking or passing bicyclists took effect Tuesday, Sept. 16.

If 3 feet is not available, a driver must slow down to a safe speed and pass when no danger is present, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

"Motorists are reminded to pay close attention as the school year approaches and exercise caution when they see bicyclists on the road," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in the press release. "Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place."

In 2012, 153 bicyclists were killed in California, a 7 percent increase from 2011, according to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. Those deaths accounted for 5 percent of the total collision fatalities in the state.

"As important as it is for vehicles to be mindful of our bicyclists, those who ride must exercise safe practices and ride smart," Farrow said in the press release. "With both drivers and bicyclists doing their part, we can help reduce the number of tragedies involving bicyclists."

The fine for violating the 3-foot rule is $35, plus fees. The basic fine rises to $220 plus fees if a collision occurs, plus court costs, according to a California Bicycle Coalition press release.

The new law applies specifically to motorists passing bicyclists from behind, according to California Bicycle Coalition's website.

"A bicyclist who passes a motor vehicle by less than three feet –- for example, when pulling alongside a car stopped at a red light -- would not violate this law," the website states.

The rule would be enforced the same way the state's existing law is enforced: A motorist who is seen violating the law can be cited.

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

There is also a component to this new law that states that bikes holding up more than 3 cars must stop and let these cars pass. Please can you comment on this aspect also.


6 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:35 am

There's a great quote in the Mercury-News this morning. "If you're not sure, you are probably too close." That's really all you need to know about this law.


8 people like this
Posted by Diana
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:54 am


Cars and drivers do need to be careful, but I have a problem with kids or adults riding 2 or 3 abreast, thereby needlessly and selfishly making cars slow to a crawl. Parents and schools need to teach bicycle safety, and adult bicyclists need to be considerate, rather than power hungry jerks. The 3 feet law won't save any lives if a driver isn't paying attention (phones or other distractions).


2 people like this
Posted by Cyclist and Driver
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

@Resident The text of the new bill is here, Web Link, and does not change the current vehicle code section 21656 regarding "Turning out of slow moving vehicles" which continues to apply to bicycles (and cars!), Web Link.

And thanks to PAPD for monitoring the Bryant/Cal Ave 4 way stop this morning.


2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

Any complaints about how drivers behave? None? Interesting.

The reality of this is that this law targets the aggressive "I'm going to teach that guy a lesson" driver...the kind that actually cause death.
[Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by c
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

Please ride SINGLE FILE cyclists on Portola Road and Old La Honda Road in Woodside so cars can pass with a 3 foot buffer zone.


2 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:49 am

ChrisC is a registered user.

Palo Alto is changing a lot to accommodate bikers. I'm all for it. However, I'm waiting for a pledge by the PAPD that they will be watching for biker's who break the law and will ticket them. Many years ago in Denmark, which was and is full of bikers, before my friend would let me take off on her bike, I was told all the regulations and was told I could get a ticket from the police if I did not follow them -- like signaling for a turn. I am happy to share the rode with bicyclists, but, please, couldn't they be held to task for their behavior?


8 people like this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:55 am

It continues to amaze me that with so many bicyclists in Palo Alto, I have seen so few stop at stop signs. Do the road laws not apply to bicyclists too? I think so!
Granted, in a bike vs. vehicle situation, I understand the vehicles responsibility, but along with not stopping at stop signs, the bikes almost always seen to ride as close to the line that separates the bike lane from the vehicles as possible.

My concern is giving bicyclist a false sense of security that may not be a good idea, especially for our youth. It is in their best interest to always be alert and aware, and always proceed with caution. This is true for pedestrians as well. As a walker in our neighborhoods, when approaching a corner at the same time as a car, I always try to make eye contact to verify that the driver has seen me.


11 people like this
Posted by Safe Driver
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

I'm all for driving safely when passing bicyclists.

But how about we also hold bikers to account, for:

- not riding single file in traffic
- riding far outside the bike lanes
- recklessly cruising through stop signs


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:12 am


Any thoughts on how this law is going to be enforced?

If it is not going to be just officer witnessing, I foresee lots of video cameras.

How exact will this be and what kind of spirit does it need for a fair application.

Functionally, I am not sure this is going to change anything.

Funny, how I think this is probably a good idea, and I have problems with cars coming to close to me, or closer than I would like when I am on a bicycle, but something sort of bugs me about this change.


7 people like this
Posted by What about cyclists?
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:15 am

Don't the bike riders have to follow the laws, too? They seldom do. They often ride three and four abreast on Middlefield, Churchill, Page Mill ( in the hills), leaving no room to pass them. They gather in large groups at stopsigns and stoplights, making it impossible to turn right. The run red lights and stopsigns with impunity.

BTW, if there is no bike lane on a narrow road! common sense dictates that there is not enough room to ride a bike!

Also, sometimes it is much safer to ride on the sidewalk, as in the case of Alma and parts of Embarcadero--but do it in the direction of traffic, and give pedestrians the right of way.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:19 am


Anna said:
> But how about we also hold bikers to account, for:
- not riding single file in traffic
- riding far outside the bike lanes
- recklessly cruising through stop signs

Anna, I agree a lot of bicyclists do those things, but a lot of cars do other things that make bicyclists have to assert or sometimes over assert themselves on the road just to exist sometimes. I think in general motorists make too big a deal about the way bicyclists ride. Bikes are never more than a momentary annoyance when I drive a car, so what, I can slow down or wait for them to make their mistakes! ;-)

Another thing bicyclists do is to ride on the bike lane line, not in it.

Face it, it can be dangerous to be a bicyclist worrying about cars behind you, cars taking a turn in front of you, and motorists opening their doors into you.

The size of and the way we drive our cars in the US make it a wonder anyone gets on their bikes.


7 people like this
Posted by identity politics
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

This is the bicycle lobby reaching for power and showing its stupidity.

Imagine Alma with cars in both lanes...and bicyclists proving that the road belongs to them as much as to drivers. This road is inherently dangerous for bicyclists. Cars in the right lane now cannot legally drive by bicycles on Alma.


3 people like this
Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

Do not bicycle on the sidewalks. With this new law, there is no excuse not to bicycle on any road (except for freeways with "no bicycles" signs). Leave the sidewalks for pedestrians.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

> They often ride three and four abreast on Middlefield, Churchill, Page Mill ( in the hills), leaving no room to pass them.

The time of day and neighborhood, i.e. PALY, the bikes should really take precedence ... so what? Bikers can be annoying too on mountain roads when the going is slow enough and sometimes they come out of nowhere and force me to brake at inopportune times.

Again, though, for who is this a major problem? It is an annoyance, but it more works to keep bikers safe.

Do some bikers have attitudes ... yeah, definitely. But to a biker a every car can take on a menacing presence that could kill you, and people are less and less aware as they drive today in more and most events and distractions.


4 people like this
Posted by Maren
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

As a bicycle commuter I would like to clarify some points about bicyclists and the rules of the road:

We may "take the whole lane" at times, quite legally.
We may ride on the line of the bike lane, or even outside of it at times. (Typically when the bike lane has many cars parked in it.) As Drivers you do not want me weaving in and out of parked cars, that would make my visibility much less.
Also, I need to ride at least 3 feet away from a parked car so that I do not get hit by a door being opened (Yes, this has happened to me), or a car pulling out of the parking space without looking or signalling (I had a close call last week).

Yes, we cyclists need to signal, ride single file, and stop at stop lights. (I do all of these). In Idaho and one other state Stop signs are Yield signs for bicycles; I wish they were in California, because we lose so much momentum if we stop completely at the every other block stop signs in Palo Alto. I confess that I slow way down, yield to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians but do not stop completely if there is no one else around.

Below you will find the California Laws on which I base my comments:

Ride to the Right, But Within Limits - When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you are required to ride as far right as “practicable” (meaning safe). You are not required to ride as far right as possible, which may not be safe. You are allowed, but not required, to ride on the shoulder. CVC 21202, CVC 21650, CVC 21650.1



Take the Lane - If a travel lane is too narrow to safely share side by side with a motor vehicle, you can prevent unsafe passing by riding near the center of the lane. On two-lane roads where it’s illegal or unsafe to pass, you must turn off the roadway at a designated or safe location to allow a line of 5 or more vehicles behind you to pass. CVC 21202 (a)(3), CVC 21656
Use the Bike Lane, But Leave It When Needed - When riding slower than the normal speed of traffic, you must ride in the bike lane in the same direction as adjacent traffic. You can leave the bike lane to pass another bicyclist or a vehicle in the lane, to turn left, to avoid debris or hazards, or where a right-turning vehicle might cut you off. CVC 21208


1 person likes this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

@CrescentParkAnon...

You quoted another comment (Safe Driver) not mine. My biggest point is these laws are giving bicyclist (especially our younger ones with limited experience) a false sense of security while riding their bike.

In addition, just thought I'd mention my father (87) lost his license last year, but kept driving as he thought he had no choice. Not until this January, did my husband and I convince him to actually stop. Scary! I'm sure he's not the only senior who finds himself still in his home feeling stranded. Yes, there are options available, but not really practical, especially from his point of view. Put somebody like this on the street with our youth, or anybody with a sense that the cars need to be aware of THEM...is a recipe for disaster!


3 people like this
Posted by Professorville Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

If the City of Palo Alto is serious about enforcing this new 3' law, then the following thoroughfares with no shoulders and high density traffic routinely make it virtually impossible to safely pass cyclists with 3' feet of clearance should immediately be made off-limits to bicyclists:
Alma
Middlefield
Embarcadero


2 people like this
Posted by windwoman
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

For a safer commute, bikers need to wear light colored or reflective clothing or armbands, have lights and/or reflectors on the front, rear and sides of the bike so they're more visible, refrain from cutting in front of moving cars, keep their hands on the handlebars, and not use earplugs or cell phones while moving.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jones
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Bicyclists can exit the bike lane, but they must do it safely. That means, they cannot move into the car lane without looking to make sure it is safe and expect the cars to avoid them.

I encounter adult cyclists on a daily basis on Palo Alto streets who endanger themselves and the cyclists behind them and create problems for motorists who simply want to drive safely to and from work.

I don't drive in the bike lane. Please, cyclists, don't drive in my lane, except when safely passing other cyclists who are in the bike lane.


1 person likes this
Posted by cant happen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Professorville Resident,

State law trumps municipal code on this one.

>> Alma, Middlefield, Embarcadero

Palo Alto can't legally restrict bicycle access on roads.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

riding bicycles on sidewalks can be more dangerous than riding them on the street, as vehicles often come out of driveways across the sidewalk looking to their left, without concern for who or what might be on the sidewalk. I personally have been T-boned that way by an SUV while on my bike.

there is something wrong with the life of someone who is in such a hurry as to not be able to spare a few seconds to be safe. Seriously. This applies as much to bicyclists as to vehicle drivers. Seriously. Slow down and live and spare a life.


3 people like this
Posted by Dead scared
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I both drive and bike around Palo Alto. When I drive, I am very afraid of harming a bicyclist because of what they foolishly do.

A couple of recent examples:

At Ross and Colorado (a rather busy intersection). I stop at the stop sign and signal that I am going to turn right. An adult bicyclist is coming being me, on the far right of the street. I start turning right, when I feel the bicyclist bang on the right hand rear side of my car. He was attempting not to stop and go straight through the intersection by passing me on the right as I was starting to turn right!!! Bicyclists, please don't do this! It's extremely dangerous!!

On a smaller street that is curvy, I am coming down the street approaching the blind curve. As I start going around the curve, I almost run into two children bicyclists coming from the other direction and who decided to cross the street riding their bikes in the middle of the street, right before the blind curve!!

Thank goodness, I am cautious and don't drive fast. Even so, I am dead afraid of one day running into one of those foolish cyclists.


1 person likes this
Posted by baby driver
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I'm always careful around bikes, and give them as much space as possible when passing them. But I'm not sure that I can judge (from the driver's side of the car) exactly how close I am to them. Is it 2 feet or 4 feet or more? This law seems difficult to enforce, requiring that a police officer also be in a position to judge the distance between car and bike.
In general, I'm definitely in favor of cars giving bikes plenty of space. I'm just not sure this goal is amenable to being achieved by a law that defines a specific amount of space.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

If I am riding my bike on the street and come to a red light with a row of cars waiting, can I ride to the front of the line and next to the lead car even though I have to ride closer than three feet to the sides of each car?
Similarly, if I am the lead car at the red light and a bike is next to me, closer than three feet, am I breaking the law if I drive forward when the light is green and the rider is less than three feet from me?


2 people like this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

To Dead Scared: It sounds as if you were violating the vehicle code section that for right turns requires the approach and turn to be made from the right edge of the road. There should not be room for a bicyclist to pass on your right as you prepare for a right turn. Also, you said you stopped and signaled. You should signal for 100 feet before the intersection, then stop. If you are signaling for a right turn but are not next to the curb you are sending a confusing and contradictory message. I would never pass on the right in that situation, but some people will.


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Resident: Yes and No. Read the article. The three feet rule applies only to drivers passing bicyclists, not vice versa. For your second question, the new law says that if there is not room to give three feet you can slow down and pass when it is safe (for everyone) to do so. Passing slowly while approaching a red light or starting from a red light is OK.


6 people like this
Posted by Harley Commuter
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Seems to me from the comments on this thread that if there is no bike lane, there should be no bikes. If the road is narrow and bikes are not allowed on the sidewalk, avoid that road.

Most people know of someone who has almost been CREAMED by a car on Middlefield, Alma, or Embarcadero. A relative who works for the CHP informed me that at least three bicyclists are airlifted off of Summit or Page Mill or Alpine or Portola Rds EVERY weekend-- simply because there is not enough room on those roads for a car+ a bicycle in one lane.

I don't even drive a car in those hills,,the lanes are so narrow. I ride a motorcycle up there if I want to go to Alice's or Windy Hill, etc. More often than not, though, I come upon the aftermath of a bicycle/car crash: usually a bicyclist going downhill too fast and plowing into a car going uphill, or crashing into the side of a car backing out of a driveway in one of those mountain homes.

Personally, I feel that there are too many distracted drivers on the road for a bicycle to be sharing that road, UNLESS the road is wide enough for a bike lane. I lived in Amsterdam for a year, and there the bike lanes are protected from the cars by a solid berm, and pedestrians have the sidewalk but are not permitted to walk in a bike lane. I myself have not ridden my bicycle in Palo Alto for the last three years due to drivers who run stop signs and make illegal left and U turns. I broke my right elbow and dislocated my left knee due to such a driver.


1 person likes this
Posted by cant happen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

"A relative who works for the CHP informed me that at least three bicyclists are airlifted off of Summit or Page Mill or Alpine or Portola Rds EVERY weekend"

Your relative is mistaken.


3 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

This is gonna be dicey, especially when drivers are obeying the law, and suddenly the cyclist isn't.

It seems insane that cyclists want to cycle on Middlefield, Alma and El Camino. There are also a good many who do so without proper equipment and with little attempt to be visible. Perhaps it's time to start licensing adult cyclists.


1 person likes this
Posted by cant happen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Hmmm,

> especially when drivers are obeying the law

Drivers dont obey the law. Drive on middlefield between oregon and san antonio. The speed limit is 25.
I seldom see a car going under 35. Drive Alma or embarcadero, no drives the speed limit on these street.
Drivers universally break the speed law.


Like this comment
Posted by CarDriver
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm

@HarleyCommuter - you share a common misconception that gets many drivers in trouble: the belief that bikes are not allowed on narrow roads.

This simply is not true. I don't ride often, but I am well aware that when the road is narrow, the bike has a right to take the whole lane.

I have seen this trigger rage in drivers, but it is legal and the safe way to share the road. (Share =single file in this case) Sure they are slow, and it would be nice if they found somewhere else to ride, but bikes are vehicles that have the same road rights as cars.

You cannot expect them to yield that right because they are a bit slow, and drivers have no right to intimidate bicyclists to push them off the road, honk, yell, etc.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:08 am

[Portion removed.] You can absolutely not ride on Alma with bike and have a fully functioning brain with good judgement. Law or no law, it is a stupid and dangerous thing to do.

I think the intent of this law is to give the bicyclists the right of way as pedestrians have in California. I support the spirit of that move ... just not sure this will work or be a positive step in the right direction. The real issue is when bicyclists get hit or feel threatened ... or are threatened or yelled at. If there is not a police officer there to witness the incident, what is going to happen. If there is no proof, what is going to happen.

Since drivers are seemingly never going to get any better and continually going to probably get worse and more distracted if present trends continue, I think the building of bike lanes, bridges, path, etc is the way to handle this, not to make pointless laws that cannot be enforced easily or judged.


1 person likes this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:07 am

I don't see what the big deal is about this law. It is consistent with the rest of the laws that say safety is the top priority and that speed is secondary.


Like this comment
Posted by BL
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:14 am

BL is a registered user.

Every so often I have to slam on the brakes b/c some stupid bicyclist (mostly kids) decide they do not need to stop for a stop sign before entering cross traffic. I know one day I will not be able to stop in time for one of these foolish kids.

Speaking as a parent, parents should not let their kids ride bikes until they are sure their kids know how to ride safely.

The Palo Alto Police need to crack down at busy stop sign intersections or install barriers to make bicyclist stop.


1 person likes this
Posted by Car driver & bike rider
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:31 am

I recall that Idaho has a really cool state law: Bicyclists are allowed to treat Stop signs as Yield signs, and to treat Red Lights as Stop signs.


Like this comment
Posted by BL
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:32 am

BL is a registered user.

To reduce accidents and to teach kids to ride safely I encourage parents to request police presents at busy school stop sign intersections especially at the beginning of the school year. I know the Palo Alto Police does teach safe bicycle riding programs at elementary schools, but should also enforce bicycle traffic rules on the road.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:29 am

As more and more bicycles are taking to our streets for commuting and for recreation, it is apparent that there should be more changes to the law that will make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

To say that the law says _____ and will never change is backward thinking. Laws do get changed and some of the laws we have in relation to bike riding are outdated and should be reviewed. These should be done at state and national level, not city by city piecemeal.

It makes a lot of sense to think that some roads are not suitable for bikes. We know that highways/freeways are bike free, and other roads should be the same. Anything that is called an Expressway and doesn't have a bike lane should be bike free. These Expressways generally have a higher speed limit and are designed for higher volumes of vehicle traffic so unless they have designated bike lanes, then it makes sense to me that there should be no bikes.

Likewise, arterials and feeders if they are narrow lanes without space for bike lanes, particularly if they have suitable alternatives running parallel could also be bike free at the local jurisdiction's discretion.

Lastly, all bikes must be subject to the same rules as any other moving vehicle on our streets. Bikes, disability scooters, etc. must have lights at night and riders should have reflected vests. Bike riders must acknowledge that they are vehicles as long as they are riding their bikes and must not consider themselves pedestrians unless they dismount. Bikes should dismount on pedestrian bridges, etc. The fact that the rider is wearing cleats should not exempt them from obeying the law.

And I am in agreement that we need more yield signs and less stop signs. This is something for everyone, not just bike riders. We need to have more
intersections that flash orange at night so that at 2.00 am there is no need to wait on empty roads for a red light to change to green. Flashing orange lights should be treated like yield signs.

As I said before, just because the law at present states it is ok to do something, it is not written in stone and at times these outdated laws that were written when there was a lot less traffic should and must be updated.

BTW, this 3 foot law is something that good drivers have been doing anyway.


4 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

No law can protect bicyclists from their own stupidity. Coming to a 4-way stop sign this morning. I had passed a bicycle on my right a few hundred yards previously. rider was fully in the bike lane so there was plenty of clearance. I stopped while a car proceeded through the 4-way intersection. Then it was my turn to proceed straight through the intersection. I knew that the bike would be catching up to me at about this time ... and knew that they would blow straight through the stop sign like it didn't exist so I kept my eye on the right to confirm what I knew would happen next. Just as I started to enter the intersection, another car came to a stop on the right and the bike blew through the stop sign on my right. What happened next I certainly didn't expect... bike didn't stop at the the stop sign, used its speed to pull in front of me and then cut across the intersection to make a left hand turn ... probably 2 feet in front of my moving vehicle. If I hadn't been watching for the initial bike traffic violation of failing to stop at the stop sign and thus been able to hit the break in time, PAUSD would have had one less student in school this year. The bicyclist proceeded obliviously down the road while my heart rate needed some time to recover. I wonder how many of these near death experiences happen every day.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Of course drivers obey the law. I do it, and so do many others. If drivers don't, it doesn't give carte blanche for cyclists to do the same, but many cyclists act as if it does.

Folks, wasn't Bryant St Bike Blvd created so that cyclists could safely navigate north-south Palo Alto, thus eliminating the need to cycle on Alma and even ECR?

It'd be great to have bike blvds up and down the Peninsula.


1 person likes this
Posted by al
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I recently biked from MV to PA via Alma street. From San Antonio to East Meadow it got interesting. The biggest problem is that a lot of people passed me without leaving their lane. Meaning they got pretty damn close. Also, they accelerated (I could hear) as they passed.
I agree with the poster above, law or no law, its just stupid. Legally, sure I have a right to be there, but its scary as hell.
School, School, School!!!
The only way to change anything is to include common sense laws in our children's curriculum early on. They will be biking and soon driving.
There is no hope for the existing drivers as we can see from various comments.
Please work on getting the schools to teach this. 1st graders are just starting to ride(just taught my 6 year old w/o training wheels). This should be a class: how to be courteous on the roads as a pedestrian, biker and at some point driver. these rules need to be a part of learning how not be a pain in gas to the rest of the population.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Posted by BL a resident of Barron Park - 6 hours ago
> Every so often I have to slam on the brakes b/c some stupid bicyclist (mostly kids) decide they do not need to stop for a stop sign before entering cross traffic.

BL, I have driven in Palo Alto since the early 70's and I have never had to slam on my brakes because of anything a bicyclist did. I might just humbly suggest that you consider the possibility that you are not paying enough attention to your driving, or you are impatient with the sometimes unpredictable behavior of cyclists and have stopped giving them the consideration that is required to share the road with cyclists. Or, perhaps you drive a car that does not have great visibility.

Cyclists are a pain sometimes because they can be unpredictable and seek to not follow the rules, go through stop signs, but if you expect the worst, just like for car drivers and leave a large of error around them you will never be surprised or disappointed. ;-)


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Posted by sense
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

For those comparing the State of Idaho to anything in the Bay Area-get real. Those laws are there because that's where they can work. And there are many, many months that trying to ride a bicycle in Idaho would be ridiculous. It's like comparing ice cream to steak-they both come from a cow, but you just don't even bother with the idea of comparing them...


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Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm

1. Bryant street is "supposed" to be a bike boulevard.

2. It is a central street that goes through a large part of Palo Alto.

3. Let's make it a real bike boulevard by significantly reducing car traffic and encouraging bikers to take that street for their commute.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Bryant St is a bike blvd, which is why I largely avoid it. The times I don't, I am sorry I haven't, because it's not that car friendly, which is the point. Encouraging cycling without more bile blvds is stupid and ridiculous.

Being on Middlefield in North Fair Oaks today with the sharrows was laughable. Where the hell is a cyclist supposed to go if a car is suddenly upon them?

And, why do people insist on riding on ECR nowadays? It's absurdly dangerous.


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Posted by ?
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

How exactly does this work on El Camino Way and Maybell? The other day, I went to turn right onto Maybell from Donald, signaled, and pulled to the far right to turn, but saw a gaggle of kids on bikes coming up behind me, so luckily I was extra careful expecting some to try to ride to my right anyway. Worse, someone darted around me to my left just as I began to turn, AND MADE A RIGHT TURN RIGHT ACROSS MY BUMPER, to turn right onto Maybell, though thankfully I was going slowly enough that I could slam on the brakes. Just as I started to roll forward again, another kid darted around my left and also turned from left to right across my front bumper to make the same right turn! Unbelievable. Parents, please teach your kids that if someone is making a right turn, you do not go around them and turn right in front of their bumper, they are looking for the idiotic ones who pull up to the right instead of pulling behind and waiting their turn, so they don't cream those.


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Posted by Can't happen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:34 am

Hmmm,

"Of course drivers obey the law."

Well no they don't. That's the problem I have we car drivers that complain about bicyclists, they don't admit recognize the failure in themselves. I'm all for more traffic enforcement, I'd like to see my fellow drivers obey the speed limits for a change.


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Posted by It's already working
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:40 am

I did a long ride over to the coast yesterday. There was a noticeable difference with the majority of cars that passed me on the two laners.
I had far more cars slow first, then pass, making sure to give plenty of room than I have ever experienced before.

The good drivers are showing the way. The rest should watch their lead and learn instead of inventing reasons why it won't work. The fact is, from what I have seen first hand, it is working.
Now, since we're talking about people's behavior in cars, lets see how long it ill last, but for now it seems to be working great.


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Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

This has to be the dumbest law passed by our state legislature as they buckle to the bicycling lobby. I can see this for city/suburb streets, but not winding mountain roads. Widen the roads to allow for bicycle traffic BEFORE enforcing this new law.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:14 am

These laws come into being because we are just besotted with greenery. We have to love cyclists. Love them enough to let them ride 3-4 abreast, not stop at stop signs, pass on the left a vehicle stopped at a stop sign--and then turn right in front of that vehicle as it is started up.
More reason not to drive, and to be wanting better shuttles and bus service, and not have a certain local player cutting routes.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Seriously? Can't Happen, of course there are plenty of drivers who obey the law. But we all know that if we don't, we're still pretty safe the majority of the time. And we're pretty likely to get cited if the cops are doing traffic enforcement. Cyclists often believe that, too, to their detriment, that they're safe when they break the law. There's a dangerous difference between cyclists regularly blowing through stop signs on public roadways and drivers doing the same - the difference being that one doesn't regularly see drivers doing that. Drivers get lazy and sloppy, but rarely take the regular law-breaking risks that cyclists do. It's time to start licensing cyclists, after they've past a test.


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Posted by Polly Wanacracker
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

How is this going to be enforced. How can anybody tell if a car passes at 3 feet or at 2 feet, 11 inches? Are bicyclists going to carry yardsticks?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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