Cyclists in Utah get 3 feet of space; bicycle traffic lights in California

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Motorists in Utah will have to give bicycle riders 3 feet of clearance when they pass, according to a bill that Gov. Jon Huntsman was expected to sign on Friday.

The signing of the bill is only a partial victory for bicycle advocates, explains this report from the Associated Press:

“The Utah Senate rewrote (Rep. Rosalind) McGee's bill to make an exception to the 3-foot rule for drivers who keep a “reasonable and safe distance (from) the bicycle.”

The words “reasonable” and “safe” were not defined in the legislation, leaving that open to interpretation.”

In spite of the weasel-wording in the amended bill, Salt Lake Tribune columnist Holly Mullen makes a good point: “But if HB 49 gets people to exercise a little patience before barrelling past a bike rider, it's a lobbying job well done.”

A Missouri legislator also has submitted a bill requiring motorists to give cyclists 3 feet of clearance when they pass.

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee reports that a bill that allows police to enforce compliance with special bicycle traffic lights is being rushed through the legislature. The stop lights that bicyclists can activate to pass through intersections are located in Davis and Cupertino, and being considered in San Francisco and San Diego.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk of Davis is sponsoring AB-56 to reinstate the law allowing police to write tickets for infractions. That ability ended Jan. 1.

The Utah, Missouri and California bills are just some of the legislation dropped on the doorsteps of state capitols this year. See a list of other bicycle bills — and links to track their progress — at the State Legislative Wrap-up page.

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