According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately half of all traffic-related injuries occur near intersections. As an attempt to combat this statistic, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 413 (AB 413) into law in Sacramento on Tuesday. Authored by Assemblymember Alex Lee, D-San Jose, this legislation aims to increase visibility at crosswalks across California. The bill, commonly known as the Daylighting Bill, prevents parking or stopping of vehicles within 20ft from marked crosswalks, improving visibility and safety for both pedestrians and drivers.
What is daylighting? How can it help?
The term “daylighting” refers to the practice of keeping a clear zone of a specified distance on the approach side of an intersection or crosswalk.
AB 413 mandates that vehicles must not stop, stand, or park within 20 feet of any marked or unmarked crosswalk. For crosswalks with curb extensions, a 15-foot buffer is required. This safety measure increases visibility for approaching drivers and those already stopped in traffic, offering them a better view of pedestrians entering the crosswalk.
Before daylighting: cars cannot see pedestrians in the crosswalk due to parked cars blocking the sightlines.
image courtesy of SFMTA
After daylighting: cars have a clear view to pedestrians before they step off the curb into the crosswalk.
image courtesy of SFMTA
AB 413 recommends the issuance of warning notices to first-time offenders until January 1, 2025, after which citations will be issued. However, local jurisdictions have the flexibility to enforce a different distance if supported by traffic safety data and marked with paint or signs.
Why Daylighting is needed:
Half of all traffic related injuries occur near intersections.
California’s pedestrian fatality rate is nearly 25% above the US average.
Support from Cities and Organizations
Cities like San Francisco and Alameda have already implemented daylighting at some crosswalks, with San Francisco’s regulation currently set at 10 feet. The new law allows local jurisdictions to enforce a different distance, provided they have relevant safety data to support the change and mark the designated space appropriately. Additionally, commercial unloading and loading may be permitted in marked areas with specific signage or paint.
AB 413 gained support from advocacy groups Streets For All and the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike). Jared Sanchez, policy director at CalBike, commended the bill, emphasizing its importance in ensuring the safety of all road users, particularly pedestrians who are often the most vulnerable. The legislation is a crucial step in addressing California’s pedestrian fatality rate, which is nearly 25% higher than the national average.
The Daylighting Bill, AB 413, represents a significant stride in improving road safety in California. By enhancing visibility at crosswalks, the legislation aims to reduce pedestrian fatalities and create safer conditions for all road users. With the support of advocacy groups and local jurisdictions empowered to enforce the law effectively, AB 413 sets a precedent for other states to adopt similar measures in the ongoing effort to prioritize pedestrian safety on our roadways.