Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Tuesday allowing school districts across the state to expand student safety instruction by local law enforcement over new types of student transportation.
Assembly Bill 2028, authored by Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), would specifically change the current law on the matter, which allows school district boards to provide time and facilities to any local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the schools of the district, for bicycle safety instruction. AB 2028 will now allow expand instruction to include scooters, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles and motorized scooters.
Since it was first introduced in February, the bill rapidly moved through the legislative process. Unusually for a bill involving divisive topics such as law enforcement, education, and transportation, AB 2028 received little to no opposition, passing with ease through each committee chamber vote. This included a unanimous 35-0 Senate vote and a unanimous 71-0 Assembly vote last month.
A recent rise in the number of electric-assisted vehicle accidents by those under 18, due in part to a lack of instruction on how to operate them safely, spurred many in the Assembly and Senate to vote for the bill. The rise in popularity of electric assisted vehicles have also not only led to a rise in injuries caused by them, but have caused a distinct pattern of more serious injuries to emerge.
“With the power assist engaged, e-bikes are capable of speeds well over 20 miles an hour,” said Charles DiMaggio, who recently authored a study on e-vehicle safety. “By contrast, average speeds for more traditional bikes are less than 10 miles an hour. This near-doubling of potential speeds may be why e-bike injuries can be more serious.”
E-bike, e-scooter safety
While electric-assisted vehicles are banned in some areas, with many cities shutting down plans to allow them in certain places, these vehicles are perfectly legal to travel on in most areas, with laws generally reflecting e-versions of the vehicles being legal in places the non-electric versions of them are allowed.
“The problem isn’t the fact that these bikes and scooters can be self-propelled at low speeds,” Roger Warner, a private security official from the LA area who has dealt with the growing usage of e-vehicles, told the Globe on Wednesday. “It’s that they are sold and people think they know how to ride and use them all-right. We’ve talked with many people who have been hurt while riding these, both young and old, and it almost always comes down to them saying something along the lines of ‘I rode a scooter or bike for so many years, I thought it would be exactly the same.'”
“Like it or not, e-scooters and e-bikes are here to stay because of the ease of travel and because people really like them. But we need to nip the largest factor in the bud. And this bill will help. You give demonstrations on safety to the public, and record one of those sessions to put online on YouTube for those not wanting to go in person, and people can ride them safely.”
“And by the way, regular bicycles and regular scooters were both called menaces when they were first widely adopted too. Twenty years ago, with that big scooter boom, we were facing the same questions of safety, so this is nothing new. We just need to confront it properly and better inform the public, particularly younger people, so they don’t get themselves hurt out there. You instill this early, like what we did in the past with helmets on certain vehicles, or stopping them from riding things like bikes on sidewalks, and it becomes commonplace safety. I’m for any law that does that.”
Following the signing by Governor Newsom on Tuesday, AB 2028 immediately went into effect.
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