VRU Protection Watered Down Further

The Vulnerable Road Users Protection Act, AB 2398, defines a vulnerable road user as a bicyclist, pedestrian, skateboarder, farm equipment driver, maintenance worker, and thanks to a recent amendment includes people in wheelchairs. This bill establishes fines for injuring the most vulnerable people using our public space, and imposes a point on the convicted motorist’s record. Authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (Marin), this is a good statement on the importance of protecting vulnerable road users which we support and a step toward even stronger rules like the requirement for community service that’s included in Oregon’s Vulnerable Road Users’ Law.

The bill started out as a stronger statement. However, recent amendments lowered the maximum fine for causing injury or great bodily injury to $300. The maximum fine for littering remains at $1,000. An earlier amendment removed the provision to revoke a driver’s license if they committed two offenses in six months.

The legislature’s recent amendments are counterproductive to making cities in California more livable, despite the 2,000 supporters for our petition. However, we are excited to finally define a Vulnerable Road User in the state of California and assign a point to people who injure a VRU. Defining a VRU sets the stage for your city to pass an effective anti-harassment bill, or its own, more aggressive VRU bill. The legislature’s recent amendments reflect an absence of the ethical responsibility to protect its citizens. It’s a step forward.

View all the bills we are working to pass here: calbike.org/legislation


One thought on “VRU Protection Watered Down Further”

  1. ScottB says:

    Given this bill (if passed) will mostly enable other bills, should there be some discussion of what state and local bills could be proposed for follow-up to utilize the VRU law. Possibilities might be….

    (1) Mandatory minimum investigation requirements for injury collisions involving VRUs. Too often the investigation is way too cursory, or none at all, and local advocates end up doing the investigation for the police. Minimum standards should include searches for any nearby surveillance cameras, interviewing witnesses, and checking cell phone records for activity at the time of the collision. Fatal collisions should have accident recreation mandated.

    (2) More transparency for VRU collision data: Cities should be mandated to feed standardized details of each VRU collision (both injury and fatality) into a centralized statewide database that is available for advocates to analyze and mine. Its hard to improve statistics if you don’t have any data to begin with.

    (3) For VRU fatal collisions at intersections, loss of design immunity should occur one year after the collision date if no improvement to the intersection has been made. There are many intersection treatments to choose from, some of which are very low cost. Many crosswalks have paint that is completely warn away and no longer visible, for example. At which time that improvements are made, the design immunity would be re-instated.

    (4) A statewide VRU anti-harassment law. This would make it unnecessarily to pass separate VRU ant-harassment laws in all 456 cites in California. Cyclists should be able to cycle from city to city without wondering if each city has protections against road rage.

    (5) A bill could be proposed to allow Insurance companies the option of requiring dashboard cams for drivers that show chronic bad driving, such as the accumulation of points, DUI, Hit and Run, and especially collisions involving VRUs.