What does California Bill A.B. 1909 mean for cyclists?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents |

Who would imagine that a simple three to seven seconds would make the difference between life and death for many pedestrians – and bicyclists?

A Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) is a traffic signal timing strategy used at intersections to enhance pedestrian safety. It gives pedestrians a head start to begin crossing the street before vehicles are given a green light to proceed – and studies have shown the remarkable benefits.

The injuries to pedestrians drop dramatically

One intersection in San Francisco saw the number of left-turn accidents involving pedestrians drop to zero after LPI functionality was implemented. In another study, pedestrian accidents dropped a whopping 46%. No matter how you look at it, LPI was a benefit to pedestrian safety.

Up until January 2024, however, LPI only applied to foot traffic – not cyclists. Bicyclists had to abide by the same rules as motor vehicles like cars, SUVs and trucks. 

That has now changed. A.B. 1909 allows cyclists to take advantage of the same three to seven seconds before the rest of traffic is allowed to move – a time that can allow the average rider to even clear an intersection entirely. Given that studies show that roughly 89% of cyclists involved in urban crashes are injured at intersections, this is a big step forward for bicycle safety.

As always, cyclists still need to exercise caution when nearing intersections. Even with the new law, there are always dangers from drivers who are distracted or merely impatient. It’s also worth noting that LPI functionality isn’t available at all intersections and adding the new technology will take some time and money.

If you’re a bicyclist who has been injured in an encounter with a motor vehicle, find out more about your right to fair compensation for your losses. Legal guidance can help.