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Three Feet For Safety Act

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August 18, 2016
Edward Smith

Three Feet For Safety Act

The Three Feet For Safety Act

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Bicycle Accident Attorney.  In an effort to address the increasing numbers of cyclist injuries and deaths, California passed the Three Feet For Safety Act in 2014. According to this law, if a cyclist can prove that a driver violated the three foot rule and caused an injury, then a jury can presume that the defendant was negligent. However, it is still of the utmost importance to retain the services of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer who can conduct a thorough investigation.

Watch Youtube Video – Give Me 3 – for a brief overview of Give Me 3 – for bicyclists.

Current Law

The Act requires drivers to stay at least three feet away when overtaking and passing a cyclist on the highway. If a driver is unable to maintain the distance, he or she must slow down and wait for a later opportunity to pass safely. Drivers must also consider several factors when passing a cyclist, including:

  • The size and speed of the car;
  • The bicycle;
  • Traffic conditions;
  • Weather;
  • Visibility; and
  • The surface and width of the highway.

This also includes an assessment of the surface and width of the highway. If a car hits a cyclist while passing and the cyclist sustains an injury, the driver could be held accountable under the legal theory of negligence per se.

Negligence Per Se

The negligence per se doctrine creates a presumption of negligence if it can be proved that:

  • The defendant violated a law or regulation;
  • The violation caused injury or death to another person or his or her property;
  • The death or injury was the type of result that the law was designed to prevent; and
  • The victim belonged to the class of individuals that the law intended to protect.

Purpose of the Three Feet Law

Because the purpose of the Three Feet law is to prevent death or injury to cyclists, those who are injured are only required to prove that there was a violation and that it caused the injury. For this reason, it is extremely important to document all physical evidence at the scene of the collision.

Necessary Evidence

This includes preserving evidence of the vehicle’s condition, which in turn requires taking photos of the right side of the car and the mirror, as well as any dings or scrapes. Investigative teams should also attempt to procure:

  • Any video sources, including security systems and GoPro footage;
  • The record on a cyclist’s Fitbit; and
  • Data obtained from a bicycle’s speedometer.

Take Photographs Before Repairs Are Made

Any road hazards that could have contributed to the accident should be photographed before they are repaired. This may include:

  • Long gaps between the gutter and the pavement;
  • Dangerous crack sealer; and
  • Falling rocks.

Carefully Inspect Bicycle For Damage

It is also important to carefully inspect the bicycle itself. Marks and dents on the frame or scraping damage are good indicators of where an impact took place. When a group of cyclists are traveling together, a collision with a vehicle can have devastating results. To obtain compensation for injuries sustained in this type of accident, it is necessary to carefully investigate the position of each rider within the group.

Stockton Bicycle Accident and Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Bicycle Accident Attorney. If you or someone in your family has been seriously injured or passed away in a cycling accident, please call me promptly at (209) 227-1931 or toll free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.

I’ve been helping bicycle accident victims recover compensation for their personal injuries for more than 34 years.

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