A law that would mean extra punishment for distracted drivers who hit bicyclists and other “vulnerable road users” is getting the support of the cycling community.

change.org petition by the California Bicycle Coalition was recently started to persuade Bonnie Lowenthal, chair of the state assembly's Transportation Committee, to support Assembly Bill 2398.

The law, if passed, would …
 … punish distracted drivers who cause injury collisions with up to $1,000 fines and “a violation point” on their DMV records.

The bill particularly seeks to protect “bicyclists, pedestrians, highway workers, skaters, and people using farm equipment or on horseback,” according to the office of its sponsor, Assemblyman Marc Levine.

Yes, they said “skaters.”

Do these folks really need special protection, given that the law already punishes distracted drivers (including those accused of texting while driving)?

The change.org petition says:

Too many Californians have been injured on our streets or are mourning the death of a loved one due to distracted or negligent motorists. Protecting all people who ride bikes, walk, run, ride horses, scooter, skateboard, and work on California streets is vital to make California a better place to live.

Levine says the bill would discourage distracted driving because motorists would know the extra penalties would be waiting for them if they don't pay attention (yeah, right).

He says:

 … Bicyclists and others face disproportionate road dangers. Motorists need to be aware and to share the road.

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