Petitioning California State Legislature

Amend the California Vehicle Code to allow for bicyclist ticket diversion programs.


When a bicyclist is ticketed for a moving violation in California, they by default receive the same monetary fine as when driving a motor vehicle. This means that with court fees added a stop sign violation can cost around $200, and running a red light around $400!

Enforcement of the law and setting a high standard for compliance is important for all road users, including bicyclists. However, the penalty should be determined in order to encourage safe behavior and not so punitive that it discourages bicycling altogether, especially for low-income individuals who rely the most on bicycling for everyday transportation.

Ticketed cyclists should be allowed to attend a "bicycle traffic school" class and have their fine reduced, which would turn a purely monetary penalty into a valuable educational opportunity, especially for people who would be unlikely to attend a bicycle safety class on their own volition. These programs would also enable bicyclist advocates and educators to work directly with local police departments, to help clear up common misconceptions about bicycle law and provide guidance on what types of violations should be targeted to have the biggest positive impact on safety.

The problem is that the California Vehicle Code prohibits diversion programs except for minors whose violation does not involve a motor vehicle. Some police departments invent a workaround to extend that exception to adult bicyclists but most won’t. Changing just one word in the Vehicle Code section 42005.3 as follows would address this:

From: "This section does not apply to diversion programs for minors who commit infractions not involving a motor vehicle for which no fee is charged."

To: "This section does not apply to diversion programs for persons who commit infractions not involving a motor vehicle for which no fee is charged."

The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Davis, and Alameda have already expressed interest in operating such a diversion program if the vehicle code allowed it, and many more would likely join in as well once these programs were shown to be effective.

Please sign this petition to show your support for the efforts of non-profit bicycle advocacy organizations Bike East Bay, the LA County Bicycle Coalition, and the California Bicycle Coalition as they work with the state legislature throughout 2015 to have this simple change to the vehicle code enacted.

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  • California State Legislature

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