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New rules of the road taking effect in 2016

 

Several new laws aimed at improving safety for child passengers, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will take effect in the new year, AAA Northern California officials said.

Some of the new regulations are clarifications to existing laws and further define the rules of the road for drivers.

"AAA hopes to alert people to the latest changes," AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said in a statement. "AAA actively works to promote safe and responsible transportation, and we supported many of these new laws."

Popular "hoverboards" -- electric motorized boards -- are at the center of one of the new laws, Assembly Bill 604, which mandates that the rider of the board be 16 or older and requires the rider to wear a helmet.

The boards can be operated at speeds of up to 15 mph on sidewalks, paths or trails, with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph. The new law states local governments and other agencies can enact further regulations restricting use of the boards in public.

Two new laws -- child safety seats and reporting traffic crashes -- will become active in 2016, but won't actually take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, since it takes about a year for agencies to adhere to the new modifications, AAA officials said.

The child safety seat law, Assembly Bill 53, requires children 2 years old to be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians. Only children under 1 were required to ride in a rear-facing safety seat under the old law. The law provides exemptions for children over 40 pounds or 40 inches tall.

Senate Bill 491 raises the threshold for when any motorist involved in a crash is required to report it to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers will have to report an incident when an injury occurs or when there is property damage above $1,000; the reporting threshold is $750 amount under the old law.

SB 491 also clarifies rules regarding headphones or headsets by explicitly prohibiting the wearing of ear buds in both ears while operating a vehicle or bicycle.

Go to dmv.ca.gov for a complete list of laws taking effect in the new year.

Comments

8 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jan 4, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Stan is a registered user.

Let me get this right - a Hoverboard at 15 miles an hour on a sidewalk. I hope this is in Sacramento only. Maybe it will help reduce the population of mindless legislators.
But wait a minute - 35 mph - I guess on roadways. But why make them wear helmets. If someone is doing 35 on a Hoverbaord they clearly have nothing to protect


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 4, 2016 at 5:22 pm

The article is terribly written. Hoverboards are allowed in bike lanes on streets with 35mph or slower speed limits. The speed limit for hoverboards is 15mph, even when the street speed limit is 35mph.


17 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jan 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm

I wish there were a law that required pedestrians to wear some reflective clothing or carry a flashlight if they are going to stride out into a cross-walk when it is dark; especially those pedestrians who step off the curb with their heads down, focussed on their Smartphones.


13 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 9:11 am

Pedestrians (and I am one) also need to be responsible for their own safety. Wear clothing that makes you visible at night, put away your smartphone, and be aware of your surroundings.


14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm

I was recently almost hit by a car when crossing the street in a crosswalk with a pedestrian light. I was wearing a white long-sleeve shirt and was half way across the lane when the car started to run the red light and make a right turn without stopping. If a white shirt isn't bright enough, then nothing is. The problem is that these red-light-runners don't look to the right before turning right, so no matter what you are wearing, they aren't looking in your direction and won't see you. Fortunately, I was quick enough to guess his direction and run in a different direction, but a less agile person would not have been so lucky.


10 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm

@concerned

While it is important for Pedestrians to be alert and mindful when crossing the street, they have the right of way. Please do not attempt to push responsibility on pedestrians. Drivers need to be attentive, period.


7 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

In part -- For drivers to be attentive the fines for distraction should be much higher than they are currently. The present dollar amount isn't enough to dissuade people from using their phones or texting.


10 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

MPer:

Sorry, pedestrians don't have the right to just blindly step off the curb and expect everyone to come to an immediate stop. It's not the law and physics don't work that way.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than
within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an
intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the
roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

******
Web Link...

"The law states that drivers must always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian but if the driver can not stop in time to avoid hitting you the law will not prevent you from being hit."


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

From the DMV: Pedestrian Right-of-way

21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.


2 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

@Menlo Voter
You missed the part of my comment where I state that pedestrians need to be mindful and attentive when crossing. I never said anything about cars needing to stop while peds blindly cross anywhere.
@ Peter thanks for the statues which reinforce my comment that peds have the right of way at crossings.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Please read the statute more carefully:

"No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."


2 people like this
Posted by PULLLLEASE
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm

And while we're talking about pedestrians, people, can you PLEASE make sure your nannies aren't pushing your precious children in their strollers, on the side of the road? Bike lane or no, IT"S DANGEROUS.

The other week I saw an entire family---two toddler age children, Mom and Dad, all walking in the bike lane. The path was all of three feet away. It was getting dark. I don't care how careful motorists are, IT IS NOT SMART TO WALK YOUR FAMILY IN THE BIKE LANE WHEN THE PATH IS RIGHT THERE.

Use the path. Thank you.


2 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm

@PULLLLEASE

Some of us don't have nannies, so we actually stroll our own kids. We sometimes are forced to walk in the street because their are either no sidewalks or the sidewalks are too narrow.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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