On September 16, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed off on California’s OmniBike Bill, otherwise known as Assembly Bill 1909. The new law makes four pivotal changes in the California Vehicle Code. Its provisions are intended to help bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles travel in a safer and more careful manner. When taken as a whole, each of the law’s four seemingly separate and distinct sections operate as significant progress in further recognition of the rights of bicyclists to ride safely in California. Here are the four changes that have been made.
No Three Feet Rule
California’s rule mandating three feet of clearance when passing distance when a motor vehicle passes a bicycle has been amended. The new law is found at section 21760 of the California Vehicle Code and states as follows: “The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking or passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction and in the same lane of travel shall, if another lane of traffic proceeding in the same direction is available, make a lane change into another available lane with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law, before overtaking or passing the bicycle.” If the driver can’t pass, he or she must slow to a speed that is “reasonable and prudent” and only pass when doing so won’t endanger the safety of the bicyclist.
The New E-Bike Law
Increasing numbers of e-bikes are being ridden every day. Some local governments have tried to limit where then can be ridden though. Section 21208.5 of the California Vehicle Code operates to clarify where e-bikes are allowed and where they’re prohibited. E-bike riders will have more places to ride while municipalities and local agencies can still protect specific recreational trails.
Bicyclists Crossing on Walk Signal
Section 21456 of the California Vehicle Code has been amended to provide that a bicyclist who is facing a pedestrian control signal at an intersection showing a “Walk” or approved “Walking Person” symbol can cross the roadway in the direction of the symbol. The bicyclist must first yield to vehicles or traffic that is “lawfully within the intersection.” The rationale behind this change is that it is often safer for a bicyclist to cross an intersection in this manner.
Elimination of Local Bicycle Licensing Ordinances
By virtue of amending section 39003 of the Vehicle Code, bicycle riders are permitted to ride an unlicensed bicycle.
The above changes in the California Vehicle Code represent more progress in recognizing the right of bicyclists in the state to ride safely. If you were injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else in or around San Francisco, contact us right away here at the Law Office of Matthew J. Quinlan, and we’ll arrange for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. When you retain us to represent you, you’re availing yourself to the benefit of the representation of a quality and aggressive San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer.