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2016 California Smog Check Changes

Thankfully there are no significant changes that affect smog checks for consumers in 2016.  You can find answers to common questions about smog checks at this government site http://www.bar.ca.gov/FormsPubs/Fact_Sheets_and_Brochures/Some_Things_You_Should_Know_About_Smog_Check_in_California.html as well as this blog  post at check-smog.com http://www.check-smog.com/post/2012/11/01/What-is-a-Smog-Check.aspx .   Though there no significant changes, you many not be aware that in California Hybrids require smog checks now http://www.check-smog.com/post/2015/08/06/2015-Hybrid-Vehicles-Smog-Check-Required.aspx.  You may also not be aware that you can quickly check a vehicles last smog check result which comes in handy when buying a used car.  You can find out more here http://www.check-smog.com/post/2014/01/18/How-to-Find-a-Vehicle-Smog-Check-History-in-One-Single-Step.aspx

Motorists Skateboards Bicyclists All Have New Rules To Follow

Rules rules and more rules.  2016 is not only a cause for celebration as the new year rings in, but a cause for caution.  If you use the road, which most californians of driving age do you need to watch out because what was okay in 2015 may not be so okay now.

AB208: Highway Lane Use

More people are riding bikes for recreation and just to get around.  Unfortunately that means that as a motorist you need to pay attention to the numerous bicyclists on the road.  A number of new laws have been passed to safeguard bicyclists.  It makes sense since a human body is on the short end of the stick when tangling with a car.  In 2014 a statewide law took affect in California requiring cars to keep a 3 foot buffer zone, or to stay a safe distance if that is not possible.  You can read about that article at the la times http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-3-foot-buffer-zone-cyclists-20140916-story.html.  A doctor was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role in a bicycling accident in Los Angeles which is detailed in this article http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/01/cyclist-sentenced.html

With cause rules have changed in favor of cyclists AB208 cedes some of that power back.  Many people don't know that under California law a bicyclist can occupy the full lane of a street.  You would think that cyclists would be considerate and keep to the right so that they don't impede the progress of the much faster vehicles behind them.  AB208 changes that requirement from one of courtesy to state law.  AB208 is a broadening of existing law applying to passenger vehicles.  Currently slower moving vehicles are required to move out of traffic by either pulling into a turn out, or otherwise safely move out of the way if more than 5 vehicles are following.  AB208 now extends that requirement to bicycles. Bicycles now must use the next turnout or other area to allow backed-up vehicles to pass.

AB604: Electric Skateboards

Who knew that people young and old would be riding around on very quiet and in some cases very fast electric vehicles.  The brand-new 2016 law defines an electric skateboard as being any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon while riding that is no longer than 5 feet and no wider than 18 inches.  The purpose of the law is to define and develop guidelines of operation for "electrically motorized boards," or electrical skateboards.

The law further defines the device as being:

  1. Designed to transfer a single person,
  2. Having an electrical propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts
  3. and a maximum speed of 20 mph on a flat, paved surface.

The law requires that:

  1. Electric skateboards can be operated just by people 16 or older
  2. Requires the use of a helmet.
  3. Limits the maximum speed to 15 miles per hour
  4. States that operation should be on well sidewalks, paths, tracks and roadways with an optimum speed limit of 35mph.
  5. It is not lawful to use electric skateboards at night unless they are equiped with lights and reflectors on the front, back and sides.

This is the first in a series of articls about new motorist lawa in California, please check in again soon.