New Vehicle Code Laws Effective January 1, 2016
Bicyclists: Highway lane use (AB 208)The law requiring slow-moving vehicles to pull over safely to let traffic pass has been amended to apply to all vehicles, effective January 1, 2016. Bicycles will now be included in the legal requirement that slow-moving vehicles use the next available turnout or other area to let backed-up traffic – five or more vehicles – get by.
Electric Bicycles (AB 1096) The new law creates three separate classes of electric bicycles, defined by their maximum speed and how much power is supplied by the motor. Classes 1 and 2 have a maximum speed of 20 miles per house. A Class 3 electric bicycle has a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour. The operator of a Class 3 bicycle must be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet. Manufacturers and distributors must label the bicycles with the classification number, top assisted speed and wattage. The new law sets up safety restrictions and regulates access on trails and paths.
Earplugs, Headsets or Earphones: Effective January 1, 2016, a person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in both ears per vehicle code section 27400. This section previously only applied to motor vehicle operators; one ear bud is not a violation.
Child Safety Seats: Child safety seats (AB 53) Information only. Beginning January 1, 2017, children under two years of age must ride rear-facing in an appropriate child passenger safety seat. Children weighing 40 or more pounds or standing 40 or more inches tall would be exempt. California law continues to require that all children under the age of eight be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
Electric Skateboards or Hoverboards: Electronically motorized boards (AB 604). The new law defines “electronically motorized board” in vehicle code section 313.5 as a wheeled device designed to be stood on and powered by electronic propulsion, going no more than 15 miles per hour. The electronically motorized boards can only be ridden on a highway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, or specific designated bikeways. The rider must be at least 16 years old and must wear a bicycle helmet. Cities and counties are authorized to restrict the use of the electronically motorized boards.