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Warning! This is a not the current version of this legislative bill.
Italicized text includes proposed additions to law or the previous version of the bill.
Struck text includes proposed deletions to law or the previous version of the bill.

(pdf version)
AMENDED IN SENATE MARCH 25, 2011

INTRODUCED BY Senator Lowenthal

FEBRUARY 18, 2011

An act relating to bicycles. An act to
amend Section 21750 of, and to add Section 21750.1 to, the Vehicle
Code, relating to vehicles.



LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 910, as amended, Lowenthal. Vehicles: bicycles: passing
distance.
(1) Under existing law, a driver of a vehicle overtaking another
vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction is required to
pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe
operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to certain
limitations and exceptions. A violation of this provision is an
infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 for a first
conviction, and up to a $250 fine for a 3rd and subsequent conviction
occurring within one year of 2 or more prior infractions.


This bill would recast this provision as to overtaking a bicycle
by requiring the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle that
is proceeding in the same direction to pass to the left at a safe
distance, at a minimum clearance of 3 feet and at a speed not
exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the bicycle, without
interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle. The
bill would make a violation of this provision an infraction
punishable by a $250-fine. The bill would make it a misdemeanor or
felony if a person operates a motor vehicle in violation of the above
requirement and that conduct proximately causes significant or
substantial physical injury or death to the bicycle operator.


Because this bill would create a new crime and would expand the
scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated
local program.

(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.

Existing law imposes various operational and equipment
requirements on a person riding a bicycle on highways and roads in
the state, and requires that the driver of a vehicle overtaking a
bicycle in the same direction pass to the left at a safe distance
without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle.

This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact
subsequent legislation that would establish a minimum passing
distance that would be required of motorists who are passing
bicyclists on highways and roads in the state.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no
yes . State-mandated local program: no
yes .


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 21750 of the Vehicle
Code
is amended to read:
21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle
or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction
shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with
the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle,
vehicle, subject to the limitations and
exceptions hereinafter stated. set forth in
this article.

SEC. 2. Section 21750.1 is added to the
Vehicle Code
, to read:
21750.1. (a) (1) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a
bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a
safe distance, at a minimum clearance of three feet, at a speed not
exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the speed of the bicycle,
without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle.

(2) A violation of paragraph (1) is an infraction punishable by a
fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(b) If a person operates a motor vehicle in violation of
subdivision (a) and that conduct proximately causes great bodily
injury, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 12022.7 of the Penal
Code, or death to the bicycle operator, the person driving the motor
vehicle, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in a
county jail or in the state prison.

SEC. 3. No reimbursement is required by this act
pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local
agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a
new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or
changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of
Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a
crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the
California Constitution.

SECTION 1.
It is the intent of the Legislature
to enact subsequent legislation that would establish a minimum
passing distance that would be required of motorists who are passing
bicyclists on highways and roads in the state.