Readers question new ‘Give Me 3’ law

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I think the new 'Three feet for safety' law is a good idea. I have a question about its practical application. On a two lane road, for instance Highway 9, when I find a clear spot where it's safe to pass a bicycle, is it acceptable to cross the yellow line in order to give the cyclist three feet of clearance? Thanks! Tom Purdy, Ben Lomond A: It's against the law to cross the double yellow line to pass a bicyclist. "There is nothing in the new section that authorizes drivers to cross double-yellow lines," said officer Brad Sadek, spokes person for the CHP. "They are allowed to slow to a speed that is 'Reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the bicyclists safety.' In some areas, even that can be a challenge." Q: Can you give us your guidance as to whether or not the new 'three feet law' applies equally to bike riders and drivers? For instance, would a cyclist be breaking this law if they maneuvered their bike closer than three feet from a car that was passing them, or if they came within three feet of a car waiting at a stop sign? Thank you, Roger Paige, Santa Cruz A: "The section does not provide any direction to bicyclists," Sadek said. "It is, however, in the best interest of the cyclist to give themselves as much space as possible. "We should take this opportunity to remind cyclists that they are required to abide by almost all traffic laws applicable to motor vehicles," he continued. "This includes laws that require them to move out of the lane if five or more vehicles are following behind them. It also includes sections that forbid them from impeding traffic. If a cyclist is riding at a speed which causes them to be a drastic impediment to traffic, they are required to allow faster traffic to pass, or face a citation." Solar-powered family car comes to Capitola Mall This week is National Drive Electric Week. To commemorate, the World’s First Solar-Powered Family Car, called “Stella,” will be displayed at Capitola Mall from noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21. Stella, which generates more energy than it uses, was designed in the Netherlands by Eindhoven University of Technology students who, with Stella, won the World Solar Challenge 2013. Sunday's event features local elected officials and electric vehicle-related raffle prizes, including from Tesla. For information, visit
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