New Year brings new laws to streets of Bakersfield

January 27, 2016 | 9:41 am


The New Year bring new beginnings, but it also brings new laws in California, including many that affect those driving on Kern County’s roadways.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles consistently stresses safety on the streets of Bakersfield and throughout Kern County. In fact, attorneys at the law office are deeply involved in ending drunk driving locally through its work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, participate in safety helmet giveaways with Bike Bakersfield, and repeatedly plead with local drivers, bicyclist and pedestrians to share the road.

It’s important for drivers in Kern County to know new laws coming into effect for 2016 for everyone’s safety. Here are a few new laws taking effect in 2016:

AlertsLaw enforcement agencies are now allowed to issue “yellow alerts” on electronic freeway signs to seek the public’s help if a person has been killed or seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident. Similar to Amber Alerts, agencies, like California Highway Patrol, can advertise a suspect’s vehicle, including a partial license plate number. The new law encourages media outlets to cooperate with disseminating the identifying information. Agencies can also administer “silver alerts” to describe missing persons 65 or older who are developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired.

Highway Lane UseThis law requires slow-moving vehicles, including bicycles, to pull over safely and let traffic pass. Bicycles now need to use the next available turnout to let backed-up traffic pass.

Electric SkateboardsThe new law defines an electric skateboard as being any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood on while riding, and that is no longer than 5 feet and no wider than 18 inches. The electric skateboards can be operated only by people 16 or older who are wearing a helmet. Speeds are restricted to 15 mph on roads with a maximum posted speed limit of 35 mph, and they can’t be used at night unless they are equipped with lights and reflectors. This definition includes the now-popular “hoverboards.”

Electric BicyclesThe law defines electric bicycles as those with fully operable pedals and an electric motor. The law prohibits tampering with or modifying electric bicycles to change their speed capability.

EarbudsWhile operating a motor vehicle or bicycle, drivers and cyclists cannot wear headsets or ear buds that cover, rest on or are inserted in both ears. Emergency responders and hearing aids are excepted. The law was enacted to ensure that motorists can hear sirens and other safety alerts.

Limos: Limousines must have windows that can be pushed out for exit in an emergency.

SOURCES: The Orange County Register, KTLA Channel 5, California Department of Motor Vehicles, Los Angeles Times.

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If you or someone you know is involved in a car accident, call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000 or visit the website chainlaw.com.

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