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Mayor and Los Angeles Bike Coalition Ask For 3 Feet

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Press Release - August 24, 2010  – Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa today joined cyclists and city officials to unveil the City’s winning bicycle safety awareness slogan and poster.  The poster slogan “Give Me 3” encourages drivers to maintain a 3-foot passing distance when passing bicycles.   “California law currently requires drivers to give a ‘safe passing’ distance, but drivers may not know what safe means. 3-feet is a safe passing distance and will help keep bicyclists out of the door zone,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.

Click ‘more’ to view the rest of the press release.

“This Bike Awareness and Safety poster symbolizes the start of a commitment to creating safer streets for cyclists. It is just the first of many more initiatives we hope to see come to fruition to ensure that cyclists are safe and feel welcome on our city streets,” said Jennifer Klausner, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

The winning slogan “Give Me 3” by cyclist Danny Gamboa was the winner among more than 200 entries in a contest held in April.  The poster was designed by LA based graphic artist and cyclist Geoff McFetridge.  Representatives of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Midnight Ridazz, and the Mayor’s office selected the winning slogan.

The cycling advocates and Mayor Villaraigosa also called for a state law to require that drivers give cyclists 3-feet when passing.  In 2006 similar legislation was introduced but did not pass in the California legislature. Mayor Villaraigosa also reminded cyclists to always wear a helmet when riding.

Although helmet use is only required for cyclists under age 18, the Mayor learned firsthand of the importance of a helmet in his recent bicycle accident.

“I know firsthand that if I wasn’t wearing a helmet in my accident I would be in a lot worse shape today.  Parents, please make your children wear their helmets – for kids, it’s the law – and for adults, it’s just the smart thing to do,” added Mayor Villaraigosa.

The ads will be installed in the City’s bus shelters starting this week.  The ad space and installation is provided free of charge under the City’s contract with the shelter vendor.

MAYOR’S PRESS CONTACT: Lisa Hansen (213)  978-0741

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13 years ago

Similar to the idea in Australia called “A Meter Matters”


13 years ago

Although my expectations are low, at least getting “3 feet to pass” into popular consciousness can’t hurt.

Joe Mizereck
13 years ago

Bravo. This is excellent news and I want to commend Los Angeles’ Mayor Villaraigosa, LACBC, Midnight Ridazz, LADOT, and LAPD for rolling up their sleeves to work together to champion the safety of Los Angeles’ cyclists. And I am especially excited to hear that the Mayor will take the lead in securing a “3 Foot Passing Law” for California cyclists. This law will make cycling safer and it will save lives.

The value of this law won’t found in giving motorists tickets, but rather, using the law as a tool to help educate motorists on what is considered a safe passing distance: at least “3 feet, please”.

Look, most motorists and cyclists get along very well together on our roads (and they are OUR roads). However, we have a lot of work to do to address the problems caused by the irresponsible and disrespecful scofflaws on both sides.

There will be naysayers who will say a law like this is only a “feel good” law and unenforceable. I say hogwash. Energetic law enforcement agencies who understand their mission to protect and serve the members of their communities waste no time in rolling up their sleeves and finding ways to do their job. And some of the best do it without issuing one single ticket—pure education. (I have a fine example to share).

So much of the noise surrounding cycling safety issues are focused on the actions of the few motorists and cyclists who just don’t get it. Most motorists and cyclists, thank God, are very respectful and responsible. But there are those few who don’t care about their own safety let alone others’ safety. We argue endlessly about the actions of these few scofflaws on both sides. And while we argue people are getting hurt and killed. Moms and dads and brothers and sisters and just good people are losing their lives because we cannot get it right. We cannot focus our attention on taking reasonable steps to provide “clear standards for behavior and ultimately safer roads for drivers, runners, cyclists, pedestrians and all others.” We have to push aside all the meaningless noise and do whatever we can to give vulnerable road users greater protection in our car centric society. And at the same time we need to let vulnerable road users know that they have rules to follow as well…and they too will be held accountable. Authorities must address the violation of the laws by all road users.

Indeed, changing motorist behavior will save lives, but it is also important to understand that changing cyclist behavior is where we can make the greatest impact on cyclist safety because cyclists, not motorists have a very strong personal interest in modifying their behavior to be visible and predicable…the keys to safe cycling. Bottom line, cyclists can solve a majority of their own problems by riding visibly, predictably and responsibly.

The message to motorists passing a cyclist from the rear is simple and clear: give the cyclist at least “3 Feet,Please”. If you can’t give a cyclist at least that amount of space when passing, then please wait until you can. It may cost you a few seconds, but it may also prevent a horrible tragedy from happening.

Make it happen Mayor Villaraigosa. Lives are at stake.

Good luck,
Joe Mizereck
Founder, The “3 Feet Please” Campaign

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