Among the plethora of bills introduced in the California legislature last week was AB 2398, a propose Vulnerable User Law introduced by Assembly member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael).
Existing law defines the offenses of unsafe operation of a motor vehicle with bodily injury or great bodily injury. Levine’s bill would stack an additional offense if the bodily injury occurs to a “Vulnerable User,” which his bill defines as pedestrians, highway construction and maintenance workers, skaters, people on horseback, people “operating equipment other than a motor vehicle including, but not limited to, a bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, scooter, or skateboard,” and people operating or using farm tractors.
Fines can range from $145 to $1000. In California, the amount you pay after surcharges and other added fees comes to about four times the base fine amount. This law, if passed as written, also assesses a point against the convicted driver’s license.
Levine’s Assembly District covers all of Marin County and about half of Sonoma County, including the cities of Sonoma, Petaluma, Sebastopol and about 40% of the city of Santa Rosa. Cycling is extremely popular throughout his district.
As a matter of practical politics, I think I would advertise this as a bill to protect highway workers and seek help from that industry to lobby in favor of this bill.
There’s a little more discussion about this vulnerable user act, including the implementation of a similar law in Oregon, and other transportation related bills over at Streetsblog L.A..