It’s that time of year again when legislators and special interests hold their breath hoping that the Governor will either sign their legislation into law or doesn’t sign it by Oct. 15 so it becomes law on its own. Two transportation bills that can effect bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and even motor vehicles were signed yesterday. Both bills take effect Jan. 1, 2018.
California Assembly Bill 390, introduced by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), is known as the crosswalk countdown bill.
It is now lawful for pedestrians to enter a crosswalk when the “little man” or “the hand” is showing as long as they can reach the other side before the numbers countdown and “Don’t Walk” begins flashing.
Unless you were one of the thousands of pedestrians caught in the LAPD’s pedestrian jaywalk stings, you may not even have known it was illegal to step off the curb when the “little man” or “flashing hand” showed up.
But beware, this AB 360 ONLY applies to crosswalks that have a countdown signal. If there is no countdown — just a “flashing hand” or “Don’t Walk” signal, it is still illegal to enter the crosswalk when either of these show up.
The second, Senate Bill 672, has been in existence for 10 years, authored by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield, and was about to expire. It mandates that local transportation agencies must replace any traffic-actuated signals during their regular maintenance and upgrade cycles so that they register motorcycles and cyclists. “Traffic-actuated signals” are those signals that have the capability to manage traffic flow by changing either as it detects traffic flow or in a predetermined sequence.
Neither of these bills are earthshattering, but they both are steps in the right direction.
I’d like the legislator to come up with a bill that makes penalties for hit-and-runs much harsher. We know that often when a hit-and-run driver later turns themselves into the police, it is often because they were drunk or otherwise under the influence of a drug (prescription or not). If hit-and-run penalties were as harsh or harsher than DUI penalties, the impetus to run might be reduced.
What pedestrian or bike-friendly laws would you like to see taken up by California legislators?