BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                         AB 28|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
          |(916) 651-1520    Fax: (916)      |                              |
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                                   THIRD READING 

          Bill No:  AB 28
          Author:   Chu (D)
          Amended:  4/22/15 in Assembly
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE TRANS. & HOUSING COMMITTEE:  11-0, 6/16/15
           AYES:  Beall, Cannella, Allen, Bates, Gaines, Galgiani, Leyva,  
            McGuire, Mendoza, Roth, Wieckowski


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/14/15 (Consent) - See last page for  

           SUBJECT:   Bicycle safety: rear lights

          SOURCE:    Author

          DIGEST:   This bill authorizes the use of a solid or flashing  
          red light in place of a red reflector on the rear of a bicycle  
          being operated during darkness.

          ANALYSIS:   Existing federal regulations require all bicycles  
          sold in the U.S. to be equipped with reflective devices to  
          permit recognition and identification under illumination from  
          motor vehicle headlamps.  These reflective devices include  
          front, pedal, rear, and side reflectors.

          Existing state law places provisions on bicycles operated during  
          darkness.  To be compliant, bicycles must have:

          1)A front-facing white light visible from a distance of 300  


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          2)A rear-facing red reflector visible from a distance of 500  

          3)A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle  
            visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance  
            of 200 feet.

          4)A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center  
            of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side to  
            the rear of the center (unless the tires themselves are  

          This bill authorizes a red reflector, a solid red light, or a  
          flashing red light as acceptable for the rear-facing visibility  
          requirement on bicycles.


          Purpose of the bill.  A recent report from the Governor's  
          Highway Safety Association found that bicyclist fatalities  
          increased 16% nationwide between 2010 and 2012.  California had  
          the highest number of fatalities in any state during that time  
          period, at 338.  The report additionally noted that in 2012,  
          nearly 27% of bicyclist deaths nationwide happened at night,  
          between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.  The author states that the purpose of  
          this bill is to encourage bicyclists to be as visible as  
          possible at night, and they believe that allowing the  
          replacement of a red reflector with a red light works towards  
          that end.    
          Countermeasures that work.  Improving bicyclist conspicuity is  
          intended to provide motorists more opportunity to see and avoid  
          collisions with bicyclists. A common contributing factor for  
          crashes involving bicyclists in the roadway is the failure of  
          the driver to notice the bicyclist, particularly at night.  New  
          bicycles must be sold with reflectors meeting the Consumer  
          Product Safety Commission requirements.  The reflectors may  
          improve a bicycle's night-time visibility; however, they are  
          passive and must be illuminated by motor vehicle lights  


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          approaching from behind.  Active bicycle lighting (lighting that  
          is powered by electricity and that must be turned on before it  
          starts working) can be critical for the detection of bicyclists  
          in the path of a motor vehicle, because the bicyclist may be  
          outside the vehicle's headlight beam until the last moment.  
          A 2013 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety  
          Administration scored active lighting as: 

          1)Low cost (can be implemented with current staff, perhaps with  
            training; limited costs for equipment, facilities, and  

          2)High use (more than two-thirds of the states, or a substantial  
            majority of communities).

          3)Medium effectiveness (likely to be effective based on balance  
            of evidence from high-quality evaluations or other sources).
          Batteries not included.  A potential safety hazard could arise  
          if bicycle operators completely remove their rear reflectors in  
          exchange for lights.  The fail-safe mechanism of the red  
          reflector as a last line of defense would no longer be  
          available.  Active light failure could occur due to loss of  
          battery power, theft of the device, or failure of the operator  
          to turn on the light, and the bicyclist would be left vulnerable  
          in darkness.  

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          SUPPORT:   (Verified6/29/15)

          California Bicycle Coalition

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified6/29/15)

          None received


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          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/14/15
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang,  
            Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Perea,  
            Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago,  
            Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber,  
            Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Linder, Medina

          Prepared by:Christine Hochmuth / T. & H. / (916) 651-4121
          7/1/15 16:37:24

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