Orinda, CA (PRWEB) July 06, 2012
Bill Dullea of GJEL Accident Attorneys recently appeared before the Assembly Transportation Committee to offer testimony in support of SB 1464, a bill that provides California drivers with a more objective definition of a “safe distance” when passing cyclists.
The 3-Foot Passing Bill, co-sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition (CBC) and the City of Los Angeles and authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, requires drivers to give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing from behind.
“Forty percent of bicyclists killed in vehicle collisions are hit from behind,” said Jim Brown, CBC communications director. “This bill will save lives and also help increase ridership among the many would-be bicyclists who don’t currently ride because they don’t feel safe sharing the road with vehicle traffic. We know that increased ridership improves roadway safety by preventing vehicle collisions. SB 1464 can be a catalyst for making our roads safer for everyone.”
At the committee hearing, Brown highlighted recent changes to the bill that will increase the likelihood of Gov. Jerry Brown signing it into law. Dullea then offered the following testimony:
"My name is Bill Dullea and I'm a personal injury attorney from Orinda. Our office represents bicyclists injured in vehicle collisions.
It has been our experience that drivers don’t know how to pass bicyclists safely because existing state law is vague and subjective. Drivers’ views vary greatly on what they define as a safe distance between their car and the bicyclist.
SB 1464 gives California drivers a clear and objective standard for passing bicyclists. It’s been tested in 20 other states dating back to the 1970’s in Wisconsin.
The objective standard in SB 1464 would allow law enforcement to more easily determine if a violation of the law had occurred. For civil lawyers, like me, a citation, or more serious criminal charges if warranted, would allow us to more easily settle disputed claims with insurance companies.
Having dealt with many serious automobile/bicycle accidents I can assure you that in almost all cases the injuries suffered by the bicyclist are grossly disproportionate to the injuries suffered by the driver.
I’ve ridden my mountain bike for years. I ride less now than I want to because I see so many of these cases. SB 1464 can help bicyclists like me trust that drivers know how to share the road with bicyclists.
Any help we can give to better insure the safety of the bicyclist should be given."
The bill passed by a vote of 10-3, and if signed, will help California join the 21 other states that specify a minimum clearance that drivers must give bicyclists when passing.
“I’m proud that our firm joined cycling advocates across California in support of this bill and was able to play a small role in helping it become law,” said Dullea. “Hopefully this bill will serve as a reminder to motorists that they need to exercise caution when passing cyclists, and help reduce the number of collisions and injuries resulting from drivers who are unwilling or unaware of their need to share the road.”
About GJEL Accident Attorneys
GJEL Accident Attorneys is a San Francisco Bay Area law firm representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Since 1972, the firm has obtained recoveries in more than 99 percent of its cases. More information is available at gjel.com.
About the California Bicycle Coalition
The California Bicycle Coalition is a nonprofit advocacy organization working for the right state laws and resources to help communities become safer, healthier and more livable through bicycling. More information is available at CalBike.org.