Los Angeles, CA: In America’s ‘Worst Bike City,’ Laws To Protect Cyclists Are Rarely Enforced

Four years ago, California’s Three Feet for Safety Act took effect.

In theory, at least, the act requires a driver passing a bicyclist to stay at least three feet away.

The law flew through the statehouse with strong support from bicyclists, cycling advocates, and politicians including former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and now-State Sen. Steven Bradford. Bradford, at the time a member of the state assembly, deemed it “a powerful tool.”

But in Southern California, the police haven’t found much use for it. Since it passed, LAPD officers have written just 13 citations for violating the three feet law.

In Long Beach, police issued four citations during the law’s first 1,475 days.

Supporters of the law said those tiny numbers are disappointing. But they are not surprised. Ultimately, they say it amounts to asking drivers politely to change their behavior.