Share The Road L.A. - It's the Law! - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Share The Road L.A. - It's the Law!

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Southern California, Los Angeles in particular, not only has some of the worst traffic in the nation, it is also home to some of the country's most rude and impatient drivers. Many L.A. commuters have little or no consideration for our fellow motorists. In our frustration, we honk, exhibit obscene gestures, shout and in a few extreme cases of road rage, shoot at those who get in our way.  Unfortunately, such discourteous and frequently dangerous behavior also extends to bicyclists.

Now let's be perfectly clear. No matter how annoying you may think they are, bicyclists have a legal right to be on the road. And those of us who drive motorized vehicles are legally obligated to accord them the same respect we would an 18-wheeler. But since many of us don't, a law is now in place to help ensure that we do.

The third time was the charm for cycling advocates who failed twice before in their efforts to get Governor Jerry Brown to sign a bill requiring motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists. And if road conditions prevent you from doing that, the new law insists that you slow down and pass the bicyclist with extreme care. If you don't, it could cost you. You'll have to pay up to $154 in fees if you're caught violating the law and $220 if you actually collide with a bicyclist; not to mention other possible legal ramifications.

While the law, which takes effect September of 2014, isn't perfect, it's probably needed, given the distinct disadvantage bicyclists have when competing with other vehicles for road space. That being said, it is imperative that cyclists help protect themselves by diligently following the same rules of the road the rest of us are required to obey. All too often, they don't. In the end, it really comes down to mutual respect and common sense. Keeping in mind that a momentary lapse in judgment or hot-headedness by either party can have calamitous consequences.

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