California’s ‘Daylighting’ Law Enhances Pedestrian Safety

Parking challenges persist in Southern California’s bustling urban hubs like downtown LA, Hollywood, and Koreatown, often leading drivers to resort to using driving lanes as makeshift parking spots, particularly during overnight stays or temporary stops.

In response, California introduced a novel law aimed at curbing this practice, seeking to prevent drivers from parking too close to crosswalks to bolster visibility for both pedestrians and motorists.

Dubbed ‘daylighting’ by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the strategy revolves around enhancing safety by clearing parked vehicles adjacent to crosswalks, thereby fostering improved visibility and reducing potential accidents between pedestrians and drivers.

Under the legislation known as AB 413, endorsed by Governor Gavin Newsom and spearheaded by Assembly member Alex Lee (D-San Jose), parking within specified distances of unmarked or marked crosswalks, or within proximity to crosswalks with curb extensions, is prohibited.

The law, which took effect this year, provides drivers with a grace period of one year to comply with the regulations before enforcement measures are implemented.

Advocates, including Lee, underscore the proven effectiveness of ‘daylighting’ in bolstering street safety, noting its successful implementation in 43 other states. By facilitating improved visibility at intersections, the initiative aims to cultivate safer road-sharing environments for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.

Supporters emphasise the widespread adoption of similar measures across more than 40 states, highlighting the urgency of pedestrian safety initiatives in California. The California Office of Traffic Safety highlights the pressing need for pedestrian safety measures, despite a decline in bicyclist fatalities from 136 to 125.

In Los Angeles, city officials report alarming statistics, with 134 pedestrian fatalities and 427 severe injuries resulting from vehicle collisions between January and October alone. These figures mark a significant increase compared to previous years, underscoring the critical imperative for enhanced safety measures on California’s roads.

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