New California cycling law goes into effect

The California Highway Patrol points out that the new state law requiring drivers to give cyclists 3 feet of space when passing goes into effect today.

If drivers don’t have 3 feet of space to give, they must slow and pass when no danger is present, the CHP said.

“Motorists are reminded to pay close attention as the school year approaches and exercise caution when they see bicyclists on the road,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place.”

State data show that 153 bicyclists were killed in California in 2012, a 7 percent increase from 2011. Those deaths accounted for 5 percent of the total collision fatalities in California.

“As important as it is for vehicles to be mindful of our bicyclists, those who ride must exercise safe practices and ride smart,” Farrow said in a news release Tuesday. “With both drivers and bicyclists doing their part, we can help reduce the number of tragedies involving bicyclists.”

The CHP and Safekids.org offer these safety tips for bicyclists:

• Wear a helmet.

• Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against. Stay as far to the right as possible.

• Use hand signals and obey traffic signals. Stop at stop signs and stoplights.

• Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t cross in front of them until you can see they are going to stop.

• At dusk, at dawn or in the evening, wear bright clothing and use lights. Make sure your bike also has reflectors. Consider reflective materials on your clothes.

• Parents should actively supervise children until you are comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.

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