Bicycles & Technology Reduce Car Use

biking in the cityBicycles and technology have helped reduce the use of cars by 7 percent since 2005, according to KUFH Houston Public Radio. By using smartphone apps that make it easy to identify the availability of public bikes in Houston, young people have been part of a big shift in consumption trends that lean towards a decrease in car usage and more use of bikes and public transportation.

bicyclistThe reduction in car usage is encouraging. And with the addition of  more easily accessible bike share programs in cities like Houston, Austin, New York and Washington D.C., more bikers are sharing the roads with cars. Sharing the road with cars can endanger bikers, and so new laws have been instituted in order to ensure safety.

In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the “Three Feet for Safety Act”, which mandates that drivers keep 3 feet away from bikes sharing the road, or the distance that’s safest for everyone on the road (including other cars when there isn’t enough room to give a biker three feet of space). A violation of the law will result in $35 fine, and a crash, or contact with a bike, will result in a $220 fine. Here’s the full bill if you’d like to read the details.

The bill gives more protection to bicyclists, who are vulnerable on roads, especially streets without bike lanes. A three-foot distance may sound like a lot, but it’s really a modest amount of space. To visualize three feet, think of it as approximately a little more than one arm’s length.

While it’s important to follow the law, please be sure that you’re not doing so at the expense of your own safety by driving too closely to the opposite lane.

sharing the road with bicyclesTo stay updated on the evolving laws and to avoid fines, be sure to take a course that will teach you navigate the rules and practical tips for sharing the road to make it safe for everyone: bicyclists, other drivers, and yourself.

Update: The Three Feet for Safety Act took effect on September 16, 2014.

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