There ought to be a way to Yelp police departments. This is as close as Veggie Biking can get.
The Veggie Biker waved at a Buena Park policeman while bicycling west on Crescent, east of Beach. The shaved-headed officer glared back from behind his Foster Grants. His vehicle, in which he was making a u-turn in a side street intersection, looked like the Dodge Magnum above. Bad day?
A minute later, 9:36 a.m., the Veggie Biker was passed rapidly by a silver compact sedan, which was much closer than 3 feet. The new Bicycle Buffer Zone Law requires California drivers to stay at least 3 feet away when passing bicyclists.
AB1371 went into effect Sept. 16. The previous law required a driver to keep a safe distance when passing a bicyclist but did not specify how far that was. At least 22 states and the District of Columbia define a safe passing distance as a buffer of at least 3 feet.
As the silver compact was passing, the Veggie Biker saw the Buena Park police car one lane over, and just behind the silver compact. The Veggie Biker pointed at the speeding silver compact as the officer passed. However, the officer not only went on by, but ultimately passed the silver compact. He continued on toward Beach Boulevard where he waited for the light and made a left-hand turn. The silver compact made a right-hand turn.
The Veggie Biker is sure the officer will say he had more important things to worry about than bicycles. Or just did not see the violation. The silver compact driver will say he or she did not know about the law. All could be true., particularly the latter.
However, Buena Park City Council members have stated bicycles are a traffic hazard. The council has refused to create bike lanes, as one can tell by examining the current Orange County Transportation Authority bike trails map.
A telephone call to the number listed for the captain’s desk at the Buena Park Police Headquarters went to a secretary’s voice mail. Veggie Biking saw no reason to leave a message at this time. There is no email one can easily access on the BPPD website.
Have Buena Park police been trained to enforce the 3-foot bicycle buffer zone law? Or do they reflect their leaders’ disdain towards bicycle commuting?