California state legislators have proposed several new bills aimed at promoting the safety of people on bikes in 2015. AB 28 (Chu, D-San Jose) would require any riding a bicycle in darkness to use a rear flashing light (in addition to a front light currently mandated by CA law).
SB 192 (Liu, D-Pasadena) would extend the state's current requirement that any person under the age of 18 wear a helmet while on a bicycle to anyone on a bicycle, period.
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Existing law requires that a bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined, be equipped with a red reflector on the rear that is visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A violation of this requirement is an infraction.
This bill would instead require that a bicycle operated under those circumstances be equipped with a white flashing light on the rear that is visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle, or, in lieu of the white flashing light, reflective gear worn by the bicyclist.
Existing law prohibits a person under 18 years of age from operating a bicycle, riding on a bicycle as a passenger, or riding in a trailer towed by a bicycle unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet meeting specified standards. A violation of those provisions is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $25.
This bill would require every person, regardless of age, to wear a bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle, riding on a bicycle as a passenger, or riding in a trailer towed by a bicycle. The bill would also require a person engaged in these activities in the darkness to wear retroreflective high-visibility safety apparel, as specified. Because a violation of this requirement would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.