The new year brought along several new laws including regulations prohibiting cyclists and motorists from using headphones or earbuds while riding a bike or driving a car.
The new laws went into effect on Jan. 1 and the biggest change is SB 491, which states it is “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”, according to the California DMV website.
Cyclists can still ride legally while wearing only one earbud.
In addition to earbud and headset laws, the DMV provided updated regulations for electric bicycles with AB 1096, which classifies an electronic bicycle as “a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts”.
Changes to the electric bicycle law provide three classes of electric bicycles; but users of electrically motorized skateboards are also facing new regulations.
AB 604 requires users of electrically motorized skateboards to “wear a bicycle helmet” and limits use to “individuals 16 years or older”, according to the California DMV.
This law affects users of the hoverboard, a product that has rapidly grown in popularity since its release.
Violation of AB 604 may result in a fine of up to $250.
In Dec. 2016, California Legislature enacted the Three Feet for Safety Act, which states that “the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway” cannot pass with a distance of less than three feet from the bicycle.
For more information on new laws regarding cyclists you can log on to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.