As the UCLA community gears up for the start of the fall quarter, California’s new Three-Feet-for-Safety Act went into effect Tuesday, Sept. 16. The new law requires California drivers to give bicyclists a safe distance of at least three feet when passing in the same direction or face a fine of $35. Under the Three-Feet-for-Safety Act, drivers can also be fined $220 if a collision occurs and a bicyclist is injured.

The law was implemented to help reduce the nearly 5,000 vehicle-bicycle collisions reported in the Los Angeles County during 2012. According to the California legislative information, if a driver cannot feasibly give three feet of space due to traffic or unforeseen conditions, drivers must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle...”

As commuters adjust to the law, Orange County Transportation Authority suggests these safety tips for both drivers and bicyclist:


  • Slow down near bicyclists
  • Pay attention and avoid driving distractions
  • Look for bicyclists before opening your car door
  • Be aware of oncoming bicyclists when making a left turn
  • Check your blind spot for bicyclists before turning right


  • Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it
  • Ride with a white front light at night
  • Be visible: don’t hug the curb and ride in a straight line, obey traffic laws
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs
  • Ride 3-5 feet to the left of parked cars to avoid opening doors
  • Be predictable and use hand signals

Click for more information about the law or additional driver-bicyclist safety and etiquette tips.