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New California Transportation Laws for 2024

With the start of the new year, a number of new laws go into effect. We’ve selected the most significant ones affecting pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists from the California Highway Patrol’s review of new transportation laws:

Increasing Visibility Around Crosswalks (AB 413): Vehicles are prohibited from stopping or parking a vehicle within 20 feet of an intersection or crosswalk, or within 15 feet of any crosswalk where a curb extension is present. The law is intended to increase visibility for all road users to see oncoming traffic.

Cyclists Crossing with Bicycle or Pedestrian Signals (AB 1909): Whenever a traffic signal with different colored bicycle symbols exists in the same location as traffic signals for cars or pedestrians, a cyclist must obey the bicycle traffic signal. If no bicycle traffic signal is present, cyclists are allowed to cross when the pedestrian walk signal is lit, even if the traffic signal for cars is red.

Speed Camera Pilot Program (AB 645): As part of a five-year pilot program, Oakland and San Francisco can install a limited number of speed cameras on local streets where there are safety concerns. The cameras will automatically take a picture of a speeding car’s license plate and deliver a notice of violation to the registered owner through the mail.

Crackdown on Catalytic Converter Theft (SB 55): To help combat theft, motor vehicle dealers are required to ensure a catalytic converter has been permanently marked with a vehicle’s identification number (VIN) before selling that vehicle.

Traffic Stops (AB 2773): Requires a peace officer making a traffic or pedestrian stop to state the reason for the stop before asking any questions.

Driver’s Licenses Can No Longer Be Impounded (AB 1125): Courts no longer have the authority to impound a person’s driver’s license if they fail to make payments for bail or a fine. The law is intended to reduce the harm caused to people with low incomes who need to drive to work or access essential services.

To read more on these and other new transportation laws, read the California Highway Patrol press release.

Additional Reading:

New California Transportation Laws for 2023

New California Transportation Laws for 2022

New California Transportation Laws for 2021

Reminders for School Zones, Crossing Guards, and Yellow School Buses

As schools are back in session safety officials urge motorists to be especially mindful of  their driving behavior in and around school zones and school buses.

A bus in front of San Jose’s Burnett Middle School with red lights flashing and stop sign deployed is ignored by drivers passing on the left. (Mercury News archives) (Rick E. Martin)

Do not pass a school bus with its flashing red lights and stop sign extended in either direction on an undivided highway. If there is a median divider, stop if traveling in the same direction as the bus.

  • Be prepared to stop if you see a school bus that has its flashing yellow lights activated. School buses use their yellow flashing lights to warn motorists of an upcoming bus stop.
  • Obey the speed limit. Kids are quick and don’t always think before running into the street.
  • Do not under any circumstances load or unload your child in the middle of the street or in the second lane of a drop-off circle at school. When dropping off a child pull all the way to the curb so the child exits the car on the right side. Children seated in the left side of the vehicle should exit on the right side of the vehicle.
  • Do not park in a red zone. They are there for a reason. You may be blocking the vision of a crossing guard or crosswalk.
  • The crossing guard’s stop sign means to stop until he/she leaves the crosswalk.
  • When pulling up to a crosswalk leave enough room between your car and the crosswalk so that if you are rear-ended you won’t collide with the guard or children crossing the street.
  • When crossing a street with your child, wait for the crossing guard to signal that it is safe to do so. Lead by example and train your child to listen to directions of the crossing guard.
  • Your child should never run, ride a scooter, skateboard or bicycle in the crosswalk.  Always walk.
  • Often the worst offenders of excessive speed and reckless motorist behavior in and around school zones is mom and dad.


Participate in Walnut Creek's Pedestrian Master Plan (2014)

You are invited to participate in the development of the Walnut Creek Pedestrian Master Plan

The Pedestrian Master Plan is the first citywide planning effort focused on making walking in Walnut Creek safer, easier and more popular. The Plan will assess existing conditions for walking; develop goals and policies to guide the implementation of walking facilities; recommend programs and activities to promote walking; and formulate guidelines for the implementation of sidewalks, crosswalks and footpaths. Particular attention will be paid to improving access to schools and transit within the Downtown, as well as to parks, trails and neighborhood shopping centers.
The City is relying on the public’s involvement and your input to help shape the Pedestrian Plan. The first major opportunity for Walnut Creek residents and others to provide input and feedback on the Plan is a public stakeholder workshop taking place on Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the 3rd Floor Conference Room of Walnut Creek City Hall, located at 1666 N. Main Street.  At the workshop, the public will have the chance to learn more about the project; find out about potential types of pedestrian improvements; and provide their input on all aspects of walking in Walnut Creek.
To give the public more opportunities to provide input on the Pedestrian Plan, the City is also conducting an online survey. The survey is available at; it will be open through April 30, 2014.  For more information about the Pedestrian Plan, visit or contact Jeremy Lochirco, Senior Planner at the City, at (925) 943?5899 ext. 2251 or email:

All about Crosswalks

Crosswalks are those stretches of pavement (and sometimes paint) that make our cities walkable. Did you know:

  • Any time a sidewalk ends, whether it is at an intersection or in the middle of a block, the extension of that sidewalk into the street is a legal crosswalk?
  • Many legal crosswalks are unmarked, especially in residential neighborhoods?
  • A vehicle is required to stop whenever a person is in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked?
  • Neighbors often approach the city to paint crosswalks, because a painted crosswalk is more visible to drivers, increasing the safety of people that walk?

Most California marked crosswalks are painted in one of four ways, in order of increasing visibility: two white lines, white lines with a perpendicular “hash marks,” two yellow lines and yellow lines with perpendicular hash marks.
The idea is that the more people use the crosswalk, or the more dangerous the crosswalk is deemed, the crosswalk should be more visible.
There are even more visible kinds of crosswalks, called diagonal crosswalks.  Check out this one from Chinatown in Oakland.

Sometimes called “scrambles”, these crosswalks are highly visible because cars don’t always expect them. In an area like Chinatown with a lot of pedestrians, the traffic lights are changed to add an all-pedestrian phase.
The lights go: north-south cars, east-west cars, then people in every direction!
You can see where the name “scramble” comes from, right?
At any intersection, even if you as a pedestrian have the right-of-way (which you do), always look out for cars. Not everyone knows, or respects, the rights of pedestrians. Safety first!

Pedestrians: Rights and Responsibilities

This morning, standing in a crosswalk, I stood 15 feet from a tractor trailer as it barreled through a red light.
This afternoon, I found this article about plain-clothed cops busting drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians.
These got me thinking: what are a pedestrian’s rights and responsibilities? What are the actual rules (not just what I wanted to shout at the truck driver)? Let’s take a gander at the definitive source for California’s rules of the road, the California Vehicle Code.

California Vehicle Code

Chapter 5. Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties

California’s vehicle code requires that “safe and convenient pedestrian travel and access, whether by foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller, be provided to the residents of the state”. As they teach you in pedestrian-advocate school, what’s great for a wheelchair also makes life better for an able-bodies pedestrian.
The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
What’s an unmarked crosswalk you ask? Let’s say you’re walking down the sidewalk, and the street comes to an intersection. The ten-foot wide piece of road that extends from the sidewalk you’re standing on across the road and to the other side is a legal crosswalk. If the crosswalk is painted, it’s a “marked crosswalk.” If there’s a traffic signal or stop sign, it’s a “controlled intersection.” But whatever the paint or signage, it’s a legal crosswalk, and vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians.
A study by the Berkeley Traffic Safety Center found that 35 percent of drivers surveyed did not believe pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked crosswalks. Just because the law if on your side, look both ways.
(Photo from Atlanta-based Peds.Org)
But if you’re crossing away from a legal crosswalk, yield to drivers, because that’s where they have the right-of-way. Unless there’s street construction or the crosswalk is out of service, in which case pedestrians should walk along the roadway to the left-side, and be careful.
Whenever any vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
If you see a car stopped for a pedestrian in a sidewalk, you’re legally obligated to also stop. The pedestrian is less likely to see a second car coming behind a stopped car.
A totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a predominantly white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog, the pedestrian has the right-of-way. There are steep fines for using white canes in this way if you aren’t actually blind.
Also, no person may stop a vehicle unnecessarily in a manner that causes the vehicle to block a marked or unmarked crosswalk or sidewalk. Don’t block the sidewalk, either – leave enough room for a person in a wheelchair to comfortably pass.

Be safe out there!