FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

New CA State Law Would Ban Texting While Biking

Seeing a need to toughen up on its policies, a newly proposed CA state law would ban texting while biking. 

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the use of mobile phones while bicycling and expand the state's hands-free phone law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The new California state law would give a stiff penalty to cyclists caught talking or texting on their phone. The bill would impose a fine on bicyclists and double the maximum fine up to $455 including additional fees for drivers who violate the law.

Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, introduced the new bill, which is now working through the state Legislature. Simitian said the original hands-free phone that was passed in 2008 should have included bicyclists.

The proposed bill aims to distinguish from cyclists and drivers who violate the law by assigning different penalties and points.

Simitian said adding a point to a driver's record could be a larger deterrent than a fine.

However, under the current proposal bicyclists would:

  • Face a $20 fine for the first offense
  • Face a $50 for each additional offense.
Those would be flat fines with no additional fees. Cyclists would not be subject to the points.

As for drivers, they would face stiffer penalties under the proposal including:
  • Fines for those who talk or text without a hands-free device would increase from $20 for a first offense to $50 for the first offense and $100 every time thereafter
  • Additional fees, some of which vary by county, offenders would pay a total of about $250 for the first ticket and about $455 for subsequent ones.

The bill cleared the California Senate Transportation Committee and now goes on to an appropriation committee before it can make it to the Senate floor.