Friday, September 30, 2011

SB910 sits on the desk

After it passed both houses of the California state legislator, SB910 (see this web site) has been sitting on Governor Brown's desk for several weeks. A mere formality? Maybe not: word is that the AAA and the California Highway Patrol are both actively lobbying for the governor to veto the bill.

I've been a big fan so far of Governor Brown, and have supported some of his vetos so far. But vetoing this bill would be irrevocably sever my support for him. As I've described before, none of the arguments which have been made against this bill hold water. Indeed, CA is being left behind as Nevada's 3-foot passing law just this week went into effect. Passing such a law has ceased to be a statement of progressive advocacy of cycling as transportation and is more and more becoming simply following the herd.

So if the arguments proposed against the bill don't hold water, why the continued resistance? Simple: the AAA and CHP are both organizations of drivers. In the case of AAA, people who drive more than average are more likely than average to be members, and in the case of CHP, driving is what they do for a living. People who do something don't like feeling constrained in that activity, and members of both organizations would prefer to not have their right to endanger cyclists curtailed. Sure, the law already requires a "safe passing distance" but that's so fuzzy it's easily side-stepped. Without a firm number there, any pass can be claimed to have been safe, any collision due to the actions or lack of actions of a cyclist.

So Mister Governor, this is your chance. Sign the bill and do the right thing, or veto it and go on the perpetual black list of everyone who rides a bicycle on public roads in this state. And whatever you do, please get on with it. The arguments for, and those which claim to be against, this bill have been hashed and rehashed for decades now.

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