California law prohibits the use of diversion programs as a means to reduce fines for most traffic violations. The only exception to this law as it stands now is if the violation is written to a minor, is an infraction and doesn’t have any fees associated with it. A bill that has been introduced in the California Assembly is seeking to change that.
The bill, A.B. 902, seeks to repeal the portion of the California Vehicle Code that has that stipulation. The bill is aimed at improving bicyclist safety by allowing diversion programs to be used if a cyclist is given a ticket for a traffic violation. The diversion program, a traffic safety class, would be set by the local jurisdiction. If the bill passes, adults and juveniles would be eligible for the program.
Huntington Beach had a similar program, but had to stop offering it as a way to reduce fines because of the California Vehicle Code. Several other jurisdictions offered similar programs.
The University of California Berkeley has a diversion program up and running now. In this case, only people who are issued tickets for campus violations are eligible for the program. If the ticket is for a violation of the California Vehicle Code, the person can’t participate in the diversion program.
As important as it is for bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, it is just as vital for vehicle operators to follow the rules of the road. When bicyclists and motor vehicle operators are all following the traffic laws, the roadways will likely be a much safer place for motorists, passengers and bicyclists.
Source: StreetsBlog LA, “California Assembly: Bill Would Allow “Traffic School” for Bicycle Violations,” Melanie Curry, March. 30, 2015