Cyclist Requests Summit With Jerry Brown After Gov Kills Safe Passing Bill

As our California readers can attest, Governor Jerry Brown isn’t too popular with cyclists these days — and for good reason.

Cycling advocates across the state spent months preparing a 3-foot passing bill and advancing it through the statehouse. They were already celebrating when Brown slapped it down with a veto.

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a state-wide 3-foot passing law because he thought it might harm motorists, even though all evidence says that it wouldn't. Photo: CBS San Francisco

In his explanation, Brown said he was concerned that the law that could have caused motorists to slam on their brakes, resulting in rear-end collisions.

Except that concern is, for lack of a better term, baloney. In fact, it’s the opposite of true; no state where 3-foot passing laws have been implemented report such an effect.

Ted Rogers of Network blog Biking in LA has vented some of his frustrations in an open letter to Governor Brown:

In choosing to veto this bill, you have chosen to protect drivers — who are already protected by crumple zones, airbags and seat belts — from rear-end collisions that are unlikely to ever occur.

And instead, you’ve put at risk every cyclist on our roads from dangerous passes that are almost inevitable. Cyclists who are protected by, at most, a helmet designed to offer protection from impacts only up to 14 mph.

To put that in perspective, an impact at the 35 mph to 45 mph speeds you cited has a roughly 80% risk of fatality, with or without a helmet.

Many cyclists — myself included — believe their blood, and the blood of future victims, is on your hands as a result of your veto.

Rogers says cyclists deserve a legitimate explanation from the Governor. He challenged Brown to meet with L.A. cyclists, hear their concerns, and maintain his stance. “We’re mad as hell. With good reason. And we’re not going to go away,” he said.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Cyclelicio.us reports that one time, not so long ago, GM ads were much friendlier to cyclists. And Urban Indy explains how, without sidewalks, pedestrians are resorting to bike lanes to get around in Washington Township.