California Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of proposed bicycle safety regulations has one local bicycle organization disappointed.
In a letter to Brown on behalf of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, Joe Galliani said that Senate Bill 910, which would have required drivers to give a minimum of three feet of space or slow down to 15 mph when passing cyclists on the road, is necessary for the safety of bicyclists.
"Under current law, a bicyclist remains unprotected and in physical danger," Galliani wrote.
Measure supporters like cycling champion Lance Armstrong agreed, saying it was required to reduce the number of bicyclists killed or injured by cars in California.
Nevertheless, CalTrans, the California Highway Patrol and the American Automobile Association lobbied against the measure, saying that it would increase the number of accidents.
In his veto message on Oct. 7, Brown said he "wholeheartedly" supports the measure's goal; however, he called the concerns raised by law-enforcement agencies "legitimate."
"On streets with speed limits of 35 or 40 mph, slowing to 15 mph to pass a bicycle could cause rear end collisions," Brown wrote. "On other roads, a bicycle may travel at or near 15 mph, creating a long line of cars behind the cyclist."
The SBBC disagreed, with Galliani pointing out that there is "no evidence in any of the other 20 states" with similar laws of an increase in collisions. (See the complete letter in this article's photo gallery.)
"Because of your veto, we will not benefit from the kind of improved safety that enables more people to choose bicycling for transportation, and we will not see the reduction in vehicle collisions this law would have provided," Galliani wrote.
Current law requires that motorists keep a "safe distance" when passing cyclists.