BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING
                              Senator Jim Beall, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 902            Hearing Date:     7/14/2015
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Author:   |Bloom                                                 |
          |----------+------------------------------------------------------|
          |Version:  |7/6/2015                                              |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:      |No              |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Consultant|Erin Riches                                           |
          |:         |                                                      |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          

          SUBJECT:  Traffic violations:  diversion programs


            DIGEST:  This bill authorizes a local authority to allow an  
          individual who has committed a traffic offense, for which no  
          vehicle is involved, to participate in a diversion program.
           
           ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:

          1)Specifies penalties for violations of existing law, or  
            ordinances or resolutions adopted under existing law, that  
            include fines, fees, forfeitures, and imprisonment.

          2)Prohibits a local authority from allowing an individual who  
            has committed a traffic offense from participating in a driver  
            awareness or education program, or any other diversion  
            program, as an alternative to procedures required under  
            existing law.

          3)Provides an exemption whereby a local authority may allow a  
            minor to participate in a diversion program if he or she has  
            committed an infraction for which no motor vehicle is  
            involved.

          This bill expands the exemption to individuals of all ages.

          COMMENTS:








          AB 902 (Bloom)                                      Page 2 of ?
          
          
          1)Purpose.  The author states that when a bicyclist is ticketed  
            for a moving violation in California, he or she receives the  
            same monetary fine as someone driving a motor vehicle.  With  
            court fees added, a stop sign violation can cost around $200,  
            while running a red light can cost as much as $400.  Unlike  
            most drivers, bicyclists are not required to receive training  
            or education and are often unaware of local traffic  
            ordinances.  The author states that ticketed bicyclists should  
            be allowed to attend a class at a "bicycle traffic school" and  
            have their fine reduced, which would turn a purely monetary  
            penalty into a valuable educational opportunity.  These  
            programs would enable bicycle advocates and educators to work  
            directly with local police departments, help clear up common  
            misconceptions about bicycle law, and provide guidance on what  
            types of violations should be targeted to have the biggest  
            positive impact on safety.  

          2)The more you know.  An October 2014 report by the Governor's  
            Highway Safety Association found that bicyclist fatalities  
            increased 16% nationwide between 2010 and 2012.  California  
            suffered 338 bicyclist fatalities during that period, the  
            highest number in the country.  The report additionally noted  
            that in the past 37 years, adult bicyclist fatalities as a  
            share of total bicyclist fatalities have increased from 21% to  
            84%.  To reduce bicyclist/motor vehicle collisions and the  
            resulting injuries and fatalities, the report recommended,  
            among other things, "education of bicyclists and motorists  
            about lawful and otherwise appropriate behavior regarding  
            motor/bicyclist interactions."  The author states that this  
            bill would provide an opportunity for this type of education.

          3)Creating a new industry?  While there are currently a large  
            number of traffic violator schools in the state serving  
            drivers, bicycle traffic schools are not common.  According to  
            the author, bicycle diversion programs exist in Irvine,  
            Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz County, Marin County, and Sonoma  
            County, as well as at the University of California (UC)  
            Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, Stanford University, and  
            California Polytechnic State University.  These programs  
            provide education and, in some cases, a fine waiver or  
            reduction.  The author states that these programs are able to  
            operate due to technicalities in the law that do not apply to  
            most areas, or which most police departments are willing to  
            accept.  Many local police departments and organizations that  
            wish to implement programs to divert bicycle offenders from  








          AB 902 (Bloom)                                      Page 3 of ?
          
          
            court to a bicycle education program, however, have been  
            stymied by existing law.  By expanding the existing diversion  
            program exemption from minors to all ages, this bill will help  
            local agencies achieve that goal.  To help ensure that bicycle  
            offenders are diverted to valid programs, the author amended  
            this bill on July 6 to require the diversion program to be  
            sanctioned by local law enforcement.  

          RELATED Legislation:
          
          AB 2409 (Isenberg, Chapter 1199, Statutes of 1992) - made a  
          number of changes to the collection and distribution of fines  
          and forfeitures following a major realignment of trial court  
          funding.  AB 2409 included a provision prohibiting any local  
          jurisdiction from establishing a traffic school alternative in  
          lieu of citation, except in cases of minors committing a traffic  
          offense not involving a motor vehicle.

          Assembly Votes:

               Floor:      78-0
               Trans:16-0
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Appropriation:  No    Fiscal Com.:  No    Local:  
           No


            POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,
                          July 8, 2015.)
          
            SUPPORT:  

          California Bicycle Coalition (sponsor)
          California Police Chiefs Association
          Orange County Transportation Authority

          OPPOSITION:

          None received


                                      -- END --
          









          AB 902 (Bloom)                                      Page 4 of ?