Every year there are new laws that go into effect in California. This January 1 is no different. Here are a few of the more interesting laws that take effect in 2023.
The OmniBike Bill makes four changes to the vehicle code. It requires drivers to change lanes whenever passing a bicyclist, if feasible. The bill also stops cities and counties from enforcing bicycle license laws. Additionally, it expands access for people riding e-bikes and allows bikes to cross streets on pedestrian walk signals, rather than only a green traffic light.
These laws enhance requirements on recyclers to keep specific records of catalytic converters they receive and on the authorized parties that can sell used catalytic converters. These laws specifically list who can sell catalytic converters to recyclers and require those recyclers to keep documentation such as the year, make, model, and copy of the vehicle title from which the catalytic converter was removed.
These laws aim to reduce the increasing theft of catalytic converters and help keep Californians and their cars safer.
Electric bicycles (AB-1946)
This requires the CHP to work with other traffic safety stakeholders such as the California Office of Traffic Safety, to develop statewide safety and training programs for electric bicycles. This training program, which will consist of electric bicycle riding safety, emergency maneuver skills, rules of the road, and laws pertaining to electric bicycles, will launch on the CHP’s website in September 2023.
Hit-and-run incidents (AB-1732)
This law authorizes law enforcement agencies to request the CHP to activate a “Yellow Alert” when a fatal hit-and-run crash has occurred, and specific criteria have been met to permit alert activation. The law also encourages local media outlets to disseminate the information contained in a Yellow Alert. The new law serves to use the public’s assistance to improve the investigatory ability of law enforcement agencies throughout the state when working to solve fatal hit-and-run crashes.
Pedestrians can cross the street outside an intersection or crosswalk without being ticketed as long as it is safe to do so. AB-2147, also known as The Freedom to Walk Act, was first introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D- San Francisco), who argued jaywalking bills are arbitrarily enforced, and unequally impact poor people and people of color. The bill defines when an officer can stop and cite a pedestrian for jaywalking – specified as only when a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.