What is California Assembly Bill 1909 (the OmniBike Bill)?

Home  »  Bicycle AccidentsPersonal Injury   »   California’s New AB 1909 OmniBike Bill Aims to Improve Bicycle Safety

California’s New AB 1909 OmniBike Bill Aims to Improve Bicycle Safety

California’s New AB 1909 OmniBike Bill Aims to Improve Bicycle Safety

Jan 9, 2023

Bicycling has always been a popular recreational activity. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, a reported “surge” in demand for bicycles has been seen, with more and more people taking up biking as a form of exercise as well as leisure.

As a result of the increased popularity in bicycling, the number of bicycle-related accident injuries has skyrocketed. In fact, it’s an increase that has been seen throughout the U.S. and across the globe.

A recent report from the American College of Surgeons confirmed that trauma cases involving bicycle-related injuries increased 100% during pandemic lockdowns. Moreover, Florida and California are the two states with the highest number of recorded cycling deaths per million people.

As cycling has become more commonplace amongst the masses, officials have taken steps to ensure that laws are in place to protect cyclists, particularly when sharing the roadways with motor vehicles.

Here in California, a new law which took effect on January 1 has been hailed by bicycle safety advocates as an important step in helping to reduce the number of bicycling-related accident injuries and fatalities.

Let’s look at California’s new bicycling safety law in more detail below. We’ll also provide information on how to file a bicycle accident civil claim for financial compensation with the trusted Los Angeles-area personal injury attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG).

What is California Assembly Bill 1909 (AB 1909) – a.k.a. the OmniBike Bill?

California Assembly Bill 1909 (AB 1909) is new legislation which primarily changes the current law pertaining to how motor vehicles are required pass bicycles in a “safe manner.” Also known as the Bicycle Omnibus Bill or the OmniBike Bill, California AB 1909 mandates that:

If an empty lane is available on a roadway, motor vehicles including cars, trucks, mopeds, scooters, etc. must move over to an adjacent lane of traffic before passing or overtaking a bicycle.

The lane-change aspect of AB 1909 is an expansion of the 3-foot rule which passed in 2013. The 3-foot rule for bicyclists required that:

Car drivers must give bike riders at least a 3-foot margin when passing.

However, as the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) notes, ” … it’s almost impossible to measure 3 feet on the road, so this law is difficult to enforce. The OmniBike Bill will require people in cars to change lanes when passing someone on a bike whenever feasible, just as they would if they were passing a car. The extra margin will reduce near misses and collisions, and the clearer instructions will make it easier for car drivers to pass bikes safely.”

Furthermore, AB 1909 includes three additional changes which are intended to help protect bicyclists – all of which are “crucial,” to improving safety, according to CalBike.

  1. E-bikes are now allowed on bikeways/bike paths: With more and more Californians opting to use electric bikes, AB 1909 includes a provision which opens most bikeways to e-bikes while still allowing individual communities to set laws which bar them from certain areas, such as equestrian and hiking trails. As CalBike notes, some municipalities have attempted to restrict where cyclists can operate e-bikes. The e-bike aspect of AB 1909 aims to ensure that all bicyclists have safe spaces to ride.
  2. Bikes can cross on WALK signals: The OmniBike bill legalizes the option for bicyclists to choose to cross at pedestrian intersections. If the traffic WALK signal differs from the green light for cars, cyclists may now cross with pedestrians, an option that is often safer for people on bikes, according to CalBike.
  3. Cycling licensing ordinances removed across the state: Under California AB 1909, enforcement of bicycle licensing laws are now ceased across the state. As CalBike notes, some cities have enforced laws requiring cyclists to register their bikes and obtain actual licenses to operate them. “These laws are rarely enforced but may be selectively used, often as a way to harass people of color on bikes,” CalBike said. The new AB 1909 legislation puts an end to these often arbitrarily enforced laws.

CalBike also notes that although each aspect of the OmniBike Bill may seem like a minor step in helping to increase bicycle safety, the overall impact of such legislation can help save lives and reduce injuries.

“While each provision alone may seem small, taken together they represent a significant step forward in recognizing the rights of bicyclists to safely access public bikeways and streets,” Cal Bike said.

California AB 1909 was authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman. The bill was approved by Governor Newsom in September 2022 and officially took effect on January 1, 2023. However, it’s important to note that some aspects of the OmniBike Bill, such as the WALK choice option for cyclists at pedestrian intersections, will not officially become operative until January 1, 2024.

Bicycle Accident Statistics for 2023

Bicycle Accident Statistics for 2023
Some of the latest U.S. statistics concerning bicycle accident injuries and fatalities include:

  • In 2020, more than a quarter of all bicycle accident deaths were due to hit-and-runs with motor vehicles.
  • Bicycle accident deaths occurred at about the same rate on suburban, rural, and urban roads – with 31.9% of fatalities occurring on suburban, 33.1% on rural, and 35% on urban.
  • May through August were the months with the highest number of bicycle deaths in 2020, with July accounting for the most at 84.
  • Bicycle accident deaths have actually been increasing for several years, with the past decade seeing a 37% increase despite the number of preventable nonfatal injuries decreasing by 40%.
  • In California’s Orange County, bicycle injuries increased 30.8% in 2020.

In 2020, the states with the greatest number of total cyclist accident deaths included:

  1. California (118)
  2. Florida (90)
  3. New York (44)
  4. Texas (44)
  5. Louisiana (34)

If you’ve suffered an injury or a loved one was killed in a tragic bicycle accident, a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) experienced attorneys can be a means of securing the justice and maximum financial compensation you deserve.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in a California Bicycle Accident?

With bicyclists sharing the roadways with much larger motor vehicles, the potential for suffering serious injuries in the event of an accident is always present. If you’ve been injured as a bicyclist due the negligence of a car, truck, moped, or scooter driver, you may be entitled to a cash settlement which can help cover expenses related to the accident, such as:

  • Hospital or medical care (past and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity as a result of your bicycle accident injury
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional trauma/psychological harm
  • Prescription or medication costs
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation costs (past and future)
  • Diminished quality of life

Contact one of DLG’s top-rated Los Angeles-area bicycle accident injury lawyers today at 818-322-4056 for a free and confidential consultation. There is never any obligation, and you won’t pay a penny in upfront costs for our expert personal injury legal representation.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert bicycle accident attorneys.

DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you only pay for our services after we’ve successfully secured a maximum cash settlement for your bicycle accident injury claim.

We’ve helped injured California bicycle accident victims like you recover over $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts while continuing to maintain a 98% winning record for our clients. When you’re ready to pursue a cash settlement for your bicycle accident injury, contact the very best California attorneys at DLG today. We’ll fight aggressively to ensure that your claim includes all applicable damages/losses related to your injury and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Go See Sam