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June 03, 2009

The 3 Feet Please Campaign and Road Guardian


Cars, SUV's, RV's, Busses, and Trucks, OH, MY!!

 As I wrote in Dec., when I first reported on the 3 Feet Please Movement, it doesn't matter how safe a bicyclist you are, no matter how properly you share the road with the 4 to 18-Wheeler Majority, the problem of how close, is too close, is of concern to Recreational Cyclists, and Bike Commuters, alike, every single day.


The US states with "3 Foot Laws" are: Florida, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, Illinois, Tennessee, Minnesota, Utah, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Carolina, Washington, Oklahoma, and Maine... and other states aren't far behind.

In fact, Colorado recently enacted a law that includes a 3 Feet Requirement.

What can people in the other states, and in countries around the world, do to get others to get on board?

Well, there's always the option of making the point with a peaceful, bold, and clear, FASHION STATEMENT. ;-D

Joe Mizereck thought that was a brilliant idea! ;-D

He created a 3 Feet Please Campaign and related T-Shirt, and Cycling Jersey,

3ft_plea2 He wrote on his site:

"The battle for space between cyclists and motorists is intensifying--worldwide.  And the need for space has never been greater.  More must be done to educate motorists of the importance of sharing our roads and giving cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.

As a cyclist who spends a lot of time on the roads in traffic I have experienced numerous close calls.  After one frustrating ride I decided to act.  I designed a jersey with the words "3 Feet Please" on the back.  I shared this idea with several fellow cyclists who thought this could make a difference."

I, too, think it will help.

If nothing else it will get the attention of those we share the road with.

Oh, and, um, if not...when you are flattened from behind, by that SUV, and the cops show up to question the person driving the thing, they can ask him/her if they noticed the words on the shirt you were wearing. ;-D

Check out the website of the 3 Feet Please Worldwide Campaign.

On the Media Page of the website is an amazing 5 min. video report by Fox News in Wisconsin.

It has footage that will blow you away.

Jeff Frings is an ordinary cyclist, and he’s tired of being treated unfairly on the roadways.  

His experiences show it’s not just ordinary motorists who put us at risk, it’s municipal workers and even police officers.

So he mounted a couple of video cameras to his bike and put together a blog.

His hard work has successfully gotten the authorities to issue motorists a number of reprimands and traffic citations, and his blog has gained national attention thanks to an article in Velo News.

Check out Jeff's Bike Blog for more information.

On his blog Jeff makes this important point...

He, and Joe, are not alone:

There are people who are wearing/selling jerseys or have started using cameras on rides and calling the police.

Whatever they are doing, the point is they are doing something.

I commend anyone who is trying to make the situation better.

I would also urge anyone who is doing something to talk to your local media about your efforts.

I think educating the public is the key to improving the situation.

To all those who've had enough and decided it's time to do something, thanks and keep up the good work.

As for my own humble efforts, I have a whole archive of personal investigative reports, photos, and reports on other stories: Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! 

Riding to work in Long Beach, on 2nd, just past PCH, one January afternoon, I was where I was supposd to be (Or so I thought!), in the side of the lane closest to the curb, but not in the gutter...

That story, with photo, can be read here.

Recently Joe told me of a new site he has helped begin with Max Jones, a fellow Floridian, called Road Guardian... "the first worldwide tool to help cyclists report, mark and share cycling incidents and trouble spots."

As the website describes it:

"The company name is SafeCycling, LLC, a for-profit corporation based in Tallahassee. Max is the tech guru who makes it all happen. Joe, well, he's the cyclist who wants to save other cyclists' lives and make cycling safer for everyone. RoadGuardian.com was Joe's idea… Max gave it life..."

As for its purpose:

To save lives by helping cyclists avoid risky roadways.

There are a lot of wonderful roads to ride around the world and there are some roads that cyclists should avoid because they have problems, danger points, and troublesome histories as experienced by cyclists.

 This site offers cyclists a process for reporting, marking and sharing those danger points. This information will help cyclists plan their routes for safe experiences.

And what's equally exciting is that by making cycling safer for existing cyclists we make cycling more attractive to non-cyclists. When non-cyclists become cyclists they increase the numbers of cyclists on the road and this makes it even safer for all cyclists… just think about what that means.

You can learn more about how it works, and how to use it, on the detailed FAQ Page.

I decided to give the site a try, by reporting the incident above, and signed up.

Going to the Reporting Tool I found a collection of questions, and Info Logging Steps to go through.

I had to choose an incident from Close call, Collision, Death, and Trouble Spot.

I chose Trouble Spot.

I next entered the date, time, and location.

Next I had to choose a Problem Type from Vehicle, Dog, Bicyclist, and Road Condition ( No, Pigeon, Cat, Jogger, and Pedestrian were not among the options to choose from ;-D ).

I chose Vehicle.

Next I had to choose directions for me, and the Motorist from N, S, E, W, NW, NE, SW, SE.

If the incident does not involve a Motorist then the Motorist direction is not answered.

Next I had to describe the incident in my own words.

The description is only as good, and as useful, as the contributor takes the time to make it, including the answers to all the other questions before and after, and that might be a problem if the contributor does not take the appropriate time, and effort to be helpful, and clear.

Next I had to answer Yes or No to wether the incident was Harrassment.

Next I had to answer Yes, or No to wether I filed Crash Report with the police.

Next I clicked on Preview to allow the Google Map to change its image to that of the location I provided it, and watched as a Satellite View, with Street Names (The Hybrid, as opposed to simply the Map, or Satellite choices alone.) of the intersection, and its surroundings, appears.

If all is as it should be you click "Yes, this is Correct", or if not, "Change Address".

The map allows the person viewing it to move left, right, and up and down, and zoom in, or out.

Once I approved it a Thank You note appeared, and I was done!

To make sure all really went well I went to the Report Viewer Page.

Once there I have several menus to chose options from in the Filter.

I Chose Trouble Spot, United States, Long Beach, and hit Search.

The map appears with the location marked with either a yellow marker for Close Call, Red for Collision, Black for Death, or Orange for Trouble Spot.

Clicking on the marker brings a pop-up allowing you to read the incident report, and also see a street level view of the location.

Road Guardian is a real cool tool, and while members don't have a page where all their personal reports can be found in 1 place, and there are still growing pains of a Technical Nature, that doesn't keep me from recommending the site.

As you can see, in the photos above, I have now taken to wearing the 3 Feet Please T-Shirt, and Jersey, on my Commutes to, and from, work. ;-D

The reactions from motorists has, so far, been positive in the 2 weeks I've been wearing the shirts.

Motorists of all types have given me a wide birth, and if I have taken the lane, as I do for 4 miles on the ride thru Long Beach, no-one has honked their horn, instead just going around me in the lane to my left.

On the bus I've had a few people ask about the shirt, and the Bus drivers have gotten a kick out of them.

So far I've had no cyclists approach me on the street about them, but expect that that will happen a lot as time goes by. ;-D


June 3, 2009 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink


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Good article and thanks for the link (I reposted via Twitter). Do you have any idea about the status of the 3 feet law in CA?
Best, G

Posted by: Gerhard | Jun 4, 2009 10:38:19 AM

Welcome to the Dude, and thanks for the Re-Tweet! ;-D

I am not aware of the state of affairs with regards to getting a 3 Feet type law in Ca., but will see what I can find out in the future.

Posted by: Kiril The Cycling Dude | Jun 4, 2009 12:47:33 PM

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