Town Square

New law requires drivers to give cyclists 3-foot buffer

Original post made on Sep 17, 2014

While cars passing bicyclists always had to give them a safe distance, California has now defined that distance as three feet.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 2:51 PM


Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 6:18 am

This is great for the bikes riding two abreast on Diablo Road between Green Valley and Camino Diablo. There arrogance is without parallel. So know can they not only be rude and force cars to be behind them but get drivers fined for their behavior. Stupid politically correct law.

Posted by dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 17, 2014 at 6:24 am

bill, two abreast is not legal. The television show Chip's for example, showing two motorcycle riding next to each other is not legal, bikes and motorcycles are required to be in single file.
I do agree with your comment, it is my pesonal opinion, since bicyles don't pay DMV fees, they should not be allowed on roads without bicycle lanes or parking lanes (mainly rural roads).
I also believe that bicycles should pay DMV registration fees.

Posted by 94526 Member
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

I need to now go out and measure the width of the bike lanes on Camino Tassajara to see what the State has deemed the appropriate width.
Now Moonbeam says we as motorists have to "anticipate" any sudden moves by a bicyclist to avoid any "obstruction" in their roadway. As a prior law enforcement officer, I do not recall that same law being in the rules of the road for swerve into someone else's lane and cause a're at fault.
The thing at perturbs me is the disregard of law enforcement to enforcing the rules of the road on bicyclists. I did. Run a stop sign or traffic signal, you get a ticket. I can't recall the last time I saw law enforcement citing a bicyclist.
The folks in spandex want "equal rights"....treat them the same as the motorists.

Posted by Cycling mom
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:18 am

I'm a tax payer who enjoys being outside and in shape. And I instill the same virtues in the children. Unfortunately my tax dollars are not at work when the town of Danville can't even keep the bike lane clear of debris. I'm talking a simple once a month spin with the street cleaner down on some of the major cycling streets (Danville Blvd, SRV Blvd, Camino Tass, Diablo). I'm not sure why this can't happen - maybe the town of Danville could chime in.

So when you see a cyclist dodge an obstacle - it's better then them wiping out and landing in front of your car. If you think we enjoy the obstacle course you're wrong. I think who you should be mad at is the city and the SOB's who dump their stuff on the side of the road - which includes lots of broken glass that looks like beer bottles

I agree with you about the 2 abreast riders - gives the rest of us who are conscious of our surroundings a bad name. But it's like the dog owner who doesn't pick up his dog's poop - it gives the rest of us a bad name too!

Get out of your car and enjoy the outdoors - we live in a amazing area to explore.

Posted by ironhorse
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:55 am

Why do bikers ride on the far left of their lane? Some of them ride on the bike lane stripe or even out onto the auto lane. I always feel that they are challenging auto traffic. Wouldn't it be safer for them to ride in the middle or even the right side of their bike lane?

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

Hopefully now the Town of Danville will put in a USABLE AND SAFE bike lane on Diablo Road between Green Valley and Mt. Diablo Scenic. It needs to be done ASAP before there is a fatality on this extremely dangerous section of the road.

Posted by Cyclist2
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:32 am

@Dave, you want to register bikes with the DMotorV, where's the motor? I do pay DMV fees on 2 cars and every cyclist I know also pays DMV fees. A study found that bicycles do almost zero damage to the roads while cars do more damage than the gas tax they pay. And the litter on the side of the road is left by motorists, not cyclists.

A CHP representative on the radio yesterday said whether the motorist or cyclist is at fault in a collision, the cyclist is almost always the one injured or killed. I think you could remove always from the previous sentence.

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:43 am

Hm. To "get out of your cars and enjoy the outdoors" ??? MANY do, but unfortunately, they have a 40+ hour a week job indoors. They may not bike, but my advice CM?

Open your world...Hit the trail girl, hike...take a walk or rollerblade. Swim or just go kayaking.

Biking ISN'T always the safest, wisest, smartest way to keep in shape and in many ways, is fraught with safety issues.

Posted by SOS-Danville
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

SOS-Danville (short for Save Open Space-Danville), a local grassroots organization, just won a landmark lawsuit (SOS-Danville v. Danville Town Council) against the Danville Town Council concerning BICYCLIST SAFETY ON PUBLIC ROADS!
But the Town Council and SummerHill Homes are appealing the judge’s decision!
If SOS wins the case on appeal,
the Danville Town Council will be required to analyze BICYCLIST SAFETY on DIABLO ROAD ( the bicycle gateway to Mt. Diablo State Park) and MAKE THE ROAD SAFER for bicyclists before it may approve the 70+ unit SummerHill Homes development; and

the case will establish a landmark legal precedent requiring that BICYCLIST SAFETY be evaluated as part of the review of future development projects in California.

Your help is needed to defend this victory on appeal, and protect bicyclists’ (and motorists and pedestrians)safety on public roads!
Please visit to learn more, and donate by Paypal.Or send a check payable to SOS-Danville to this address: SOS-Danville, P.O. Box 295, Diablo, CA 94528. Let your voice be heard!

Posted by Tassajara Resident
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

There is a group of speed bikers out of Livermore called "House of Pain" that often has 20 or more riders and they completely block one direction of Highland Road on weekends. When they get to Tassajara, they come around the corner of Highland and Tassajara against the red light and in a pack with three or four riders wide. Many can't even make the turn without going into the southbound lane. Anyone unlucky enough to driving on Tassajara when they appear often have to take evasive action or stand on the brakes to avoid hitting someone.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

This new law was given zero thought by the brain dead folks in Sacramento. This will only create more anger between Biker's and us the non-riders.

You may even see closer pass by's than you did before. But biking out hear is a hell of a lot safer than good old San Francisco.

The law makers in Sacrament are a crazy bunch of fools. But as usual I do not blame them...Look in the mirror you naive people...IT'S YOU THE VOTER THAT ARE CAUSING ALL THESE STUPID LAWS TO BE WRITTEN..WAKE UP AND FLY RIGHT...YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

A very good lawyer friend of mine told me many years ago...Julia, if you want the hard heads out there to remember your words, you must tell them three times.


Do you think you can remember this important message...I doubt very much.

So in that case...suffer fools.

Thank you for listening, but again I doubt if you really heard anything. Julia Pardini from Alamo.

Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

@Cycling Mom – Sorry to hear that you’re encountering trash in the roadway. Our Maintenance Services Department does street sweeping along the major arterials twice a month, so was surprised to hear of your experiences.

One way you can help us would be to use the Danville Connect app. It is downloadable for i-Tunes or the Android app store and is a great way to connect with the Town. If you’re out on a ride and see something you can use your smartphone, take a picture of it and use the app to make a report. Your phone will automatically geo-tag it and the app will route the report to the appropriate department for action. Hope you give it a try!

Any questions or you'd like to talk more about the bike lanes, feel free to get in touch with me.

Have a great afternoon!


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Tassajara Resident-
There's a name for this type of cyclist: Hood Ornament

I have ridden for close to five decades, longer than most of the bikers I see today, and it has been at least forty years since I so much as laid down my bike. I don't have a problem with the 3' law, but enforcing distracted driving laws would do a lot more to protect us all.

Today, at 9:15am, coming back north on SRV Blvd from Home Depot & heading toward the Greennbrook overcrossing, I saw a group of roughly 45 cyclists. Almost all of them were two abreast. Now on this road, which has light traffic at this time and two lanes each way, I don't consider what they were doing to constitute a safety hazard. Illegal, yes. But the same situation on upper Mt. Diablo Road - or worse, Niles Canyon/84 - does present drivers who come around a blind corner with a serious decision: Move into the oncoming lane, or slam on the brakes and hope you don't skid off the road, or send the wayward biker for a brief flight.

I have said this before on the boards and I will say it again- if you do dumb crap on the road, engaging cars in hazardous ways.... well, earth is an overpopulated place with no shortage of fools. Personally, I am not going to go off the edge of Diablo Road and take my family with me. I've been accident-free for decades because I treat cars as the dangerous weapon that they are, whether I am pedaling or behind the wheel.

And before some halfwit says "oh, just slow down Derek!", I should say that on most vehicle trips up Diablo I already have cars tailgating me, and I rarely go much over 20 or 25. Niles Canyon, however, is a much faster road, and there are a number of sharp corners where I cannot possibly drop from 42 mph down to 8 mph in 50 feet. Feel free to be arrogant though, and ride as you wish. I won't lose any sleep over what happens.

Posted by Ron
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Dear 'IronHorse'

To answer your question of 'Why do bikers ride on the far left of their lane? Some of them ride on the bike lane stripe or even out onto the auto lane. I always feel that they are challenging auto traffic. Wouldn't it be safer for them to ride in the middle or even the right side of their bike lane?'

You obviously have NEVER ridden a bicycle before IN the bike lane to notice all the debris that is present and constitutes a safety hazard for those of us on bicycles. There is a provision in the CVC for bicycles that provides for exceptions from having to ride as close to the curb or edge of the roadway when these conditions/ hazards are present. One of which is : (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

Perhaps you should educate yourself before you make such a statement AND spend some time with the wind in your hair and ride a bicycle.

I for one believe that every person issued a drivers license should be required to ride a bicycle for a period of time to understand what bicyclists have to deal with while on the road. Perhaps this would make drivers understand the actions of bicyclists better and allow them to better predict movements in traffic and on the road.

Posted by 94526 Member
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 4:58 am

To Cyclist2's response about why bicyclists should have to pay DMotorV fees, he asked "where's the motor?"
My response would be in the same location as your neighbor's boat trailer or your grandmother's mobile home.
You would think Moonbeam would be onto another form of income for the State...anybody who has rights on the roadway and they are addressed in the DMV Code Book should pay for that right. BTW: My parent's mobile home hadn't been on a roadway for over 30 years, but tags were due every year. Studies show that mobile homes do absolutely NO damage to the State's roads.

RON says everybody with a driver's license should have to ride a bicycle on the roadway to see what it's like. Could you imagine that? Maybe everybody with a driver's license should be made to test and acquire a motorcycle license. Then Ron could really see what driving among the BIG DOGS is all about. He'd probably have a better understanding of why he should stay in his own bicycle lane and be thankful he's not confined to the sidewalk. After all, everything else with tires that rolls on these substandard CA roads has to be licensed, insured....and you have to pass a written and driving test. Maybe that would potentially weed out the elite spandex wearing riders attitudes.

Posted by Cyclist2
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:35 am

@94526, I've never seen a boat trailer or mobile going down the road without being towed by a MOTOR vehicle...Maybe you have. A trailer obscures the tow vehicle's rear license plate thus the trailer has one. As I understand it, if you remove the axles on a mobile home it becomes a house and you don't pay DMV fees. I guess that opens you up to property tax which is probably more. Your choice.

"Moonbeam" vetoed the 3 foot rule at least twice in the past because those bills allowed cars to cross the double line to pass a bicycle. Most other states with the law allow that.

Most of the cyclists I ride with move to the right in single file when someone sees or hears a car and yells "car back". If we get hit by a car we are the loser.

Cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy reducing your health insurance costs.

Excuse me, I'm off to the gym. Walking!

Posted by Alamo Resident
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I do not think cyclists are aware of the single file rule -- riders on Danville almost always ride 2 or 3 abreast and it is very difficult to pass with a 3ft. clearance -- also very frustrating for drivers and dangerous to their fellow riders.

Posted by The Original Dave
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I love cycling. But, Ron is overstating the need to ride on the left side of the bike lane. Sure, it's ok for a cyclist to move over to the left side of the bike lane to avoid debris in the lane. But, it's not ok to ride there 100% of the time. Too often I see cyclists riding ON the line of the bike lane, which means that their bike and body are actually IN the lane that is being used by cars, when there is no need for them to be there.

Courtesy would go a long way on both sides. Drivers need to be more careful around cyclists, who are in the more vulnerable and exposed condition. And cyclists need to obey the rules of the road -- for example, not roaring through red lights and stop signs without stopping, which they do on Danville roads WAY too often (because they are too lazy or arrogant to stop).

Posted by 94526 Member
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Last entry for Cyclist2.
Trailers are pulled by licensed motor vehicles, so remember a guy pulling a trailer is paying the State twice for the right to drive. Bicyclist are the only ones who are given "specific rights and rules" to drive on the roadway who DON'T have to pay for that privilege.
Happy travels C2....that "car back" may be an inexperienced driver, a distracted driver or an elderly driver.....keep to the right in your bike lane.

Posted by Novice cyclist
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

@Geoff Gillette--- please tell me what you recommend as the information person for Danville's Town Council. I want to ride my bike to Mt. Diablo from downtown Danville to Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. to go to Mt. Diablo. Please tell me the best way to get there. Thank you.

Posted by cyclist2
a resident of Danville
on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:15 am

@94526, the $721 I paid the DMV for my two cars entitles me to drive them as many miles as I want but I can't ride my bike while my cars are parked in the garage. I drive less than 7,000 miles per year. I think I pay more than my share of DMV fees. Think of all the gas I'm saving for you. Please don't run over me on my bike, I stay as far to the right as possible.

"Can't we all just get along?" Rodney

Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

@novice cyclist - Thanks for asking. The safest route to go from downtown to Mt Diablo Scenic and Mt Diablo would be to go south on San Ramon Valley Blvd until you get to Sycamore Valley Road. Follow Sycamore to Blackhawk Rd (where Crow Canyon Rd end) and follow Blackhawk east to Mt Diablo Scenic. And from there up to Mt Diablo.

This route has bike lanes the entire way and is the best way for cyclists to get there. And it has a nice little uphill on Blackhawk Rd to give your legs a warmup before you hit the real uphill on Mt Diablo.

Hope this helps. If you're going to try it this weekend, I'd suggest an early start as the weather looks like it's going to be toasty again. Have fun!

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Posted by Cyclist2
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:50 am


You want cyclists to ride thru town on Hartz or Railroad where there are no bike lanes and lots of cars, make a left turn on Sycamore with two congested left turn lanes and then negotiate the merging traffic over the freeway? There are no bike lanes on Blackhawk Rd but it is wide enough to be safe except near Saddleback where it is divided. Your route would add 6.4 miles to a 3.8 mile route for a total of 10.2 miles...that's 168% increase! I guess that's why the people that live in the western side of Blackhawk take Diablo Rd. Maybe you should get away from your desk and see for yourself.

Bike lanes have been disappearing from this town. Examples: Railroad Ave, El Cerro between La Gonda and the freeway.

Posted by The Internet
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:50 am

@dave, @Alamo Resident... Just so you know there is no "single file" law for bicyclists in CA. Bicyclists may ride 2 or more abreast if it is safe given the conditions of the road.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

I see many individuals here with 'manslaughter', 'involuntary manslaughter', '2nd degree murder', and other crimes in their future. Your lives will be destroyed and you will be shamed. Along with your children and family.

The hate you have towards civilians riding a bicycle, of all things, is scary and it's only a matter of time before you 'snap' and your anger is unleashed. Your anger will succumb to civility some day driving on Tassahara not wanting to be late to Safeway and you will make a 'hood ornament' of a father, husband, wife, etc. At that very will legally be classified as a criminal and or Felon.

Shame on you all. There's a concept called 'Share the Road.' You may have seen the large signs. Read it. Learn it. Live it. And check yourselves before you kill someone in your moment of frustration and rage.

I await the flaming from the individuals here who are so angry at cyclists and who are the very ones that are future criminals. Let it rain.

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 10:55 am

In response to: "I do not think cyclists are aware of the single file rule"
Resp: I do not think motor vehicle drivers are aware of the speed limit law, or the distracted driver laws, or what they are supposed to do at "Stop" signs...
By far the rudest and most dangerous on the road are those in cars... drivers, NOT bikers.

In response to: ..."also very frustrating for drivers and dangerous to their fellow riders."
Resp: It is truly amazing the level of entitlement people feel to not be impeded or inconvenienced by even one second of time while underway in a car. I am truly so sorry for the car driver that gets rankled by the inconvenience of passing a cyclist. It is so hard to move your foot from pedal to brake and back while sitting down, such a caloric expense and oh the mental fatigue that it causes.

Maybe what really needs to happen is for people to change attitudes about cyclists and about how to run their lives in general. Race here, dart there, leave late, speed, get mad at cyclists because they impede your time by a few seconds. Oh sure, the cyclist is the problem. No, your attitude is!

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:09 am

I support cyclists. However I also think road cyclists are nuts.
Here is why
Many, if not most, do not use rear view MIRRORS. I do. Why wouldn't you want to see traffic behind, especially since it is a good be that one of those cars may be the one to hit you.
How about a rear view mirror law for cyclists? Of course the cyclists give this lame excuse about how it is dangerous to take your eyes off the "pavement" in front of you... I say nonsense. It is more dangerous to turn your head and pretend you can see behind you. And when in a pack of riders they won't do that because they know that turning your head while pack riding is in fact dangerous.
Plus the mirror can readily alert riders to approaching traffic from behind, this giving them time to move over

Here is the other reason that roadies are nuts... They outfit their bikes with tires whose thickness is so thin that of course even a sharp pebble will give them a flat. So to compensate they ride the line. How about outfitting your bikes with tires that are far more resistant to flats??? And please don't give us the excuse about weight. If you are so focused on reducing weight, then cut off about 9 inches of the legs on your spandex shorts... that is sure to save a few ounces.

But no, the typical roaddie will not admit that a mirror and better tires will add much to their safety, because of course those would add to their weight.

As a mountain biker, when on the roads, I use my mirror, and because my tires are knobbed, rocks, pebbles, glass, sticks do not puncture my tires, so it is the amazingly infrequent occasion where I get a flat from road debris. In fact I ride along the dirt line, or at times in the 9-inch concrete along the curb line.

I say it is time to requires to outfit their bikes to be ROAD ready.
And for the occasional race that you ride, you can put on those most ridiculously thin tires that pop at a moments notice.

Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.


Thanks for the feedback. I actually do get out and ride in the area quite a bit, so I'm aware that it is a longer route to go the way I suggested, but @Novice Cyclist asked about the safest way to get there.

In response to your comments about Hartz and Railroad, yes I agree that Hartz is not the best place for cyclists (especially on the weekends) but Railroad is wide enough with a bike lane over part of it that it would be the safer way. Even safer though would be to use the Iron Horse Trail through the downtown and out to Sycamore Valley Road. That would save the cyclist from having to negotiate that turn at SRV Blvd and Sycamore Valley. Once on Sycamore/Camino Tassajara it is bike lanes all the way to Blackhawk.

As you mentioned, it certainly is the longer route, and as someone who has done extensive cycling through the area I personally would take Diablo Rd. But for someone who is new to cycling, taking the longer route is definitely the safest way to do it. And as I mentioned, it's a good warmup before heading up the big hill.

I apologize for not being more specific in my directions initially. NoviceCyclist, hope you were able to get out this weekend. It was a good one for a ride!

Have a good day.


Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336
email -

Posted by Cyclist2
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm


Firstly, I don't consider the Iron Horse Trail to be a safe place to ride a bike with all the various hazards (children, dogs, skaters, pedestrians, etc.).

Secondly, I would suggest a better and maybe safer route: From Danville Blvd take El Cerro to Diablo Blvd to Green Valley, take the trail to Calle Arroyo, go thru Diablo CC to the hole in the wall to Diablo Scenic Blvd. AND PLEASE STOP AT THE STOP SIGNS IN DIABLO! Diablo is a private community and some residents don't want us there so be nice.

Posted by Trey
a resident of Danville
on Sep 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

@ Dave:

Dave, you appear to have done research on DMV registration and lane laws.

May I ask...How many moving violations / tickets have you received in your life?

None? God bless. You're a much better driver than me.)
Yes, ticketed before: Hypocrite. Than you're just another lawless maniac on the road. Kinda like you see the cyclists.

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:13 am

Perhaps when I see a LARGER number of cyclists, at least here in San Ramon and particularly on the weekends? Stop at the stop sign on my street and other key residential streets (Pine Valley, Alcosta, etc) as well as stop on a red in the intersections? THEN I might feel more comfortable in my assessment of their generally lackadaisical biking at the risk of "life and limb" not just to themselves, but the REST of us!

Posted by Kerri
a resident of Danville
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I use the Danville roads & the trails for a variety of uses- driving, running, biking, & walking my dog. I find that a little patience & manners makes it much easier to share the road. This 3 Ft law is a friendly reminder that a car will win if there is a collision with a bike. I don't think about right or wrong or who's at fault, I just really don't want to be in that situation & hurt a biker or end up hurt myself. Laws are needed in place of common sense at times. And for all your bikers I see heading up Mt. Diablo- I am very impressed by your dedication. Enjoy the ride!

Posted by GW
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I agree with all the previous posters...

I hate bicyclists when I drive (approximately 15,000 miles a year).
I hate drivers when I bicycle (approximately 8,000 miles a year).

But I have to drive and I love cycling, so I guess I'm destined to be self-loathing. ;-)

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 26, 2014 at 8:41 am

I am willing to wager that if a roadie were to ride on the right side of the bike lane everytime they went out for a ride, that at least 50% of the time they would have a flat during their ride. Why? Road debris...

So roadies are very smart, to counter the "road debris/flat problem" they ride on the left, or on the line and even in the roadway.

Of course this is not as safe, so they are making a choice of increased risk over flat tires.

What else could roadies do? How about better tires that don't pop from road debris. Would you ever ride your cars around such that when you hit a pothole the tire would pop. Of course not, you would demand better tires.

Not roadies. they just ride in the lane.

How about mirrors? How many roadies are using mirrors?

Collectively and most generally, roadies are about as dumb as you can get. The same cast of characters that used to ride without helmets because the pros road without them in the Tour de France. I guess they figured that a painters cap would protect their skulls.

To the roadies out there, perhaps you can convincingly explain why you don't user mirrors and why you use tires that pop from road debris. A explanation that the few ounces of weight savings will increase speeds and is more important than safety is acceptable.