Bicyclists dropped from bill to raise cellphone fines

Published: Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 - 9:26 am

California bicyclists will not be banned from using their cellphones after all.

Legislation to increase the fine for motorists who text or hold a cellphone to their ear was approved Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but a provision extending the ban to bicyclists was deleted.

Senate Bill 1310, by Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto, now moves to the Assembly floor for a vote next week.

If signed into law, the measure would extend the base fine for motorists who violate the texting or hand-held cellphone bans by $10 – both for first offenses, from $20 to $30, and for subsequent offenses, from $50 to $60.

After adding various county and other traffic-related fees, offenders' would find their bottom-line fine rise from about $160 to $200 for a first offense, and from about $280 to $370 for subsequent offenses. Totals can vary slightly between counties.

SB 1310 also calls for a point to be placed on a motorist's traffic record, which can affect insurance rates, for a second or subsequent violation of the prohibition against hand-held cellphones while driving. Hands-free models are permissible.

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