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Lethal Summer for Cyclists

What can be done to make the roads safer for bike riders?

It's been a lethal summer for Sonoma County cyclists with five people killed since mid-May and many more injured in altercations with cars.

The latest incident occurred on Thursday when a Santa Rosa man was run over by a driver who chased him onto a golf course. The driver has been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon while the cyclist recovers from a broken wrist.

But a new bill aims to reduce altercations between cars and bikes by requiring drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking them from behind the same lane.

The legislation--SB1464-- has already been approved by the California Senate and will be considered by the state assembly next. Proponents say it gives drivers a clear, measurable and objective standard for how to pass bicyclists safely and helps prevent cyclists from being hit from behind, the leading cause of cyclist fatalities. 

But is it enough? Or do cities need to do more to improve infrastructure for cyclists and charge motorists who hit bike riders? (So far only two Sonoma County drivers have been charged.) And will creating a minimum distance between cyclists and cars help prevent accidents?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Scott Andrews August 23, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Actually, I am not sure if the law says that cyclists must ride single file. I doubt it, since motorcyclists do this all the time. The issue is not that the roads are not designed for cyclists, the roads are not designed to accommodate both cyclists and motorists at the same time, because they travel at different speeds on the road that is designed for both of them to use. I don't see anyone here getting angry about farm vehicles, many of which are not even registered, driving slowly along county roads. The problem seems to be that they don't like to be bothered with slowing down to accommodate cyclists, and feel the cyclists should get out of their way..that's about as civil as running down grandma in the aisles of Wal Mart, simply because you are in a hurry. I ride at the side of the road, and I try to get my cyclist friends to do the same. A few of them DO ride in pairs out in the lane. That is, I believe their legal right, and many of them have taken to doing that simply because so many asinine motorists "buss bye" as Mr. Morris above states. That practice is dangerous, and anyone who does it should be cited for reckless driving.
Bradford A Morris August 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
You slap my car and I will stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think before you assult anything in the future. That could be considered a hit and run offence if you keep riding. Also there will be some not me but some who will stop and return a nice slap to you as well are you ready for that. LOL now who is acting like a 3rd grader spapping cars and saying foul words like &$(@ up. You have attitude just like the majority of riders and derserve the fly by!!! How about just follow the laws and watch out for yourself. I ride a motorcycle and I do just that and ignor the idiots inorder to be safe. Try it and keep your attitude at home!!!
Bradford A Morris August 23, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Scott Andrews. Bike lanes are not wide enough for pair riding.not a law issue. Cities have spent large amounts of money for bike lanes and pay police to ride at bike events so how about you use that as a place to ride instead of places you say are unsafe. If it is OK for bike riders to slow down traffic by being in the road not on the side single file, which I see walkers always do, why not let people walk anywhere on the road. Law citations can be given for that. That is called J walking. As far as making note to me being asinine remember your safety is your responsibility when you go places that are not designed for you. Going there worried weather you may get hit or hurt is just stupid. Besides most roads are in great need of repairs from pot holes etc shows me your a hugh risk taker. That falls in to the asinine bike riders club who derserve what they get!!! My brother front tire hit a hole and he fliped and broke his shoulder and clavical and can not ride again or any type of sport. He tells people do not ride where it is not safe look what happen to me. I ride a bike and a motorcycle. I took a sharp turn across a lane on a curve and ended up on a windshield and the driver drove off. It was my fault, risk taker. I do not like the goofball drivers as well but I take my safety into my own hands based in the condition and area in which I am riding not anybody else should do that for me.. Take responsibility!!! Think before you act! and call others asinine!
mikeg55 August 23, 2012 at 07:53 PM
If bike riders ride 2 or 3 across blocking the road, they shouldn't get upset when a car driver has to pass them. If the car gets too close, well, the bicyclist put themselves in that position by not sharing the road. Most bicyclists I pass are going single file and i try to be very careful. But if the rode is blocked, it can be very tenuous trying to pass when oncoming traffic is regulary occurring. Riding single file and letting the car pass would be safer for everyone.
Will Parent August 24, 2012 at 05:33 AM
My "slap" is a tap on the car while I am RUNNING if someone nearly hits me with their car after FAILING TO STOP OR YIELD. I would welcome meeting up afterwards, and have no problem justifying my actions. A wake up call is warranted for any driver, cyclist, runner or pedestrian that is not paying attention to his/her surroundings. Too many egos involved in this debate. Be safe, all. Ps- I choose not to ride my bike often in town due to unsafe conditions. Just a matter of time before becoming a statistic.

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