Last weekend was Governor Jerry Brown’s final chance to approve Senate Bill 1464, a bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles which would require motorists to give cyclists a minimum of three feet when passing. Hope was high throughout the cycling community that Gov. Brown would see this bill through to enforce it across streets statewide. The news of him instead choosing to kill it down with the power of gubernatorial veto came as somewhat of a shock to those who still have faith in political representatives.
Governor Brown was faced with a similar bill last year, SB 910, which he rejected citing the main reason being that the bill required vehicles to slow to 15 mph when passing, which is understandably unreasonable on many roads with higher speed limits. Within his rejection letter, however, he showed encouragement to reintroduce a similar bill in 2012 with the appropriate changes made. This year, Senator Alan Lowenthal put forth SB 1464 with what he considered to be reasonable alterations in order to satisfy Brown’s requirements.
Last weekend Brown chose to veto SB 1464, stating that his reasoning this time around is based on the fact that the bill allows cars to cross a double yellow line to pass cyclists. He claims that this could possibly lead to accidents for which the government may be held accountable.
With this action, Brown is making it clear that he is not on the cyclist’s side. Instead of negotiating with the bill’s proponents to come to an agreement of terms, Brown chooses to make vague excuses and reject a perfectly reasonable law.