Brown vetoes cyclist cellphone ban

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 28, Joe Simitian’s legislation that would restrict cyclists from using mobile communications devices while raising the fine for drivers doing the same.

Existing California law restricts motorists from using a wireless phone or engaging in texting while operating a motor vehicle. After fees and other assessments, the fines currently range from $208 (for first time offenses) up to $328. No points are assessed against the driver’s license. The law currently does not apply to bicyclists.

Simitian’s SB 28, if passed, would have increased the maximum fine (after fees, etc) to $528, and a single point is assessed against the license. Simitian also took the opportunity to explicitly prohibit bicyclists from talking or texting on the phone while riding.

Talky talky

The AAA of Northern California and the California Bicycle Coalition teamed up to support SB28, which passed with about a 2/3 majority in both the California Assembly and Senate. Governor Brown vetoed SB28 earlier this week. In his veto statement, Brown says he believes the current penalties are a sufficient deterrance for most people.

The State Senate is currently considering an override vote. A 2/3 vote is required in both houses to override. SB28 initially passed 24 to 12 in the Senate, and 51-21 in the Assembly.

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