CHP Highlights 2019 California Traffic Safety Laws: Bicycle Hit-and-Run, Helmet Use, Exhaust Violations and More

A bicyclist is seen in San Francisco in this file photo. (Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

A bicyclist is seen in San Francisco in this file photo. (Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

With 2018 coming to a close, the California Highway Patrol on Monday sought to draw attention to several new road safety laws for the new year.

The new laws touch on many different facets of traffic-related safety, from helmet use on bicycles and motorized scooters, to modified exhaust systems and hit-and-run on bicycle paths, according to a CHP news release.

Here are five the agency highlighted:

Bike Path Hit-and-Run: Assembly Bill 1755 extends the provisions of felony hit-and-run laws to cyclists on bicycle paths. The California Vehicle Code previously mandated that drivers involved in a crash resulting in someone dying or being injured must stay at the scene. Now the law clarifies that the vehicle code also applies to those riding bicycles on Class I bikeways.

Bicycle Helmets: Under Assembly Bill 3077, anyone under the age of 18 caught riding a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or skates without a helmet will get a “fix-it” ticket. The non-punitive citation is correctible by going through a bicycle safety course and getting a helmet that meets safety standards within 120 days of the ticket being issued. A violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $25.

Motorized Scooter Helmets: Bicycle helmets will no longer be required for those aged 18 years or older riding on motorized scooters as a result of Assembly Bill 2989. Motorized scooters can be operated on Class IV and Class II bikeways, as well as on roads with speed limits of up to 25 mph, though local jurisdictions would ultimately get to decide if they can travel on highways with speed limits of up to 35 mph. It will still be illegal to ride a motorized scooter on the sidewalk.

Some Exhaust Violations Not Correctable: One of the new changes provided by Assembly Bill 1924 is that a mandatory fine will be issued to anyone cited for a modified or excessively loud exhaust or muffler system. Previously, the driver or motorcyclist could avoid the fine by correcting the violation.

Passing Waste Service Vehicles: Drivers who approach or overtake a waste collection vehicle when its amber lights are flashing must move into an adjacent lane and pass at a safe distance if possible, according to Assembly Bill 2115. When it’s unsafe to do that, drivers have to slow down to a “safe and reasonable speed.” The law is intended to provide a safety margin for sanitation workers, CHP said.

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