New transportation-related laws to remember in the new year

by Contributed Content on January 5, 2016

Police Chief Ed Flint of the Atherton Police Department is reminding locals of some new transportation-related laws that became effective January 1. Among them:

Earbuds or Headsets (SB 491, Transportation Committee): This law, among other things, makes it unlawful to wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in both ears, while operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle. This prohibition does not apply to persons operating authorized emergency vehicles, construction equipment and refuse or waste equipment while wearing a headset or safety earplugs. For more information, reference California Vehicle Code section 27400.

Electrically Motorized Skateboards (AB 604, Olsen): This law defines “electrically motorized board,” and restricts their operation on public facilities, requires boards to be equipped with safety equipment, and authorizes cities and counties to regulate their use. It also makes it a crime to operate an electrically motorized board while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, the law limits the board’s operation to individuals 16 years or older, requires operators to wear a bicycle helmet, wear safety equipment to increase visibility at night, and limits their operation to roads with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less. A conviction for violating this law is punishable by a fine of up $250. For more information, reference California Vehicle Code sections 313.5, 21290 to 21296, and 21968.

Electric Bicycles (AB 1096, Chiu): This law adds an entirely new definition of an electric bicycle to the California Vehicle Code. An electric bicycle is defined as a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. The law creates three classes of electric bicycles. Manufacturers will also need to certify the electric bicycles comply with specified requirements. Electric bicycle riders will be able to use roads similar to other bicycle riders, while providing a measure of local control if safety concerns arise on specific paths or public trails. For more information, reference California Vehicle Code sections 312.5, 406, 12804.9, 21207.5, 21213, and 24016.

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