[Update as of 2/23/2013, neither bill mentioned below has been assigned to any committee which I imagine means it is dead]
It’s the start of a new legislative season in Arizona, the 51st Regular session, for those keeping track. (find other bills of interest with the legislation tag)
There are two bills that would modify §28-735, Arizona’s 3-foot passing rule. The first is only a technical correction, however the second seeks to modify the onerous “section C”. By far the best and most simple correction would be to simply eliminate section C altogether. In any event, the present proposal seeks add specific reasons (excuses?) why a bicyclist might not be in an otherwise passable bike lane; e.g. preparing to turn, passing another cyclist…
Section C was added by Senator Bee as a “floor amendment” (ie. last minute) and is widely viewed as anti-cyclist. More background on the law here, called HB2625 from the year 2000. Although I don’t know of any time section C has ever actually kicked in; it has caused confusion causing some to either mendaciously or ignorantly claim that 3-foot passing minimum does not apply to overtaking bicyclists traveling in a bike lane (including more than one Flagstaff police officer).
Some background on 3-foot laws:
Deep background on AZ’s law: azbikelaw.org/articles/ThreeFoot.html
Compendium of US states with similar laws: azbikelaw.org/blog/three-foot-passing-laws
about the “confusion” regarding applicability of AZ law to roads with bike lanes: azbikelaw.org/blog/the-city-of-flagstaff-hates-bicyclists/