In 2023, lawmakers introduced some new laws pertaining to bicycles and roadways. One of the laws was a requirement for vehicles passing a bike to keep three feet away. Such laws intend to help protect bicyclists from tragic accidents and make the roadways safer for everyone.
In the same bundle of laws, the legislators had an additional rule that would go into effect in January 2024. This pertained to intersection signals applicable to bicycles.
Current law details
Before January 2024, California law states bicyclists must follow all road laws that pertain to motor vehicles. At intersections, bikes must obey the traffic light or, if available, the bicycle signal.
Pedestrians at an intersection have the right to begin crossing on red when the pedestrian signal tells them to walk, which is generally three to seven seconds before vehicles get the right to go.
New law changes
The new law will allow bicyclists the same right as pedestrians to begin crossing using the pedestrian signal. The goal is to reduce accidents.
Pedestrians who have the headstart are safer from accidents, especially those from turning vehicles because the headstart allows them to be in the middle of the roadway where they are more visible. The same situation will happen with bicycles, and for those signals giving the longer advanced notice, it can allow bikes to cross completely before cars even get to go.
These signals that will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross early at intersections are mainly found in higher-traffic areas where accidents are more likely to occur.