A new California law that became effective January 1st aims to improve the visibility of both vehicles and pedestrians in an effort to improve safety for both, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

“Daylighting is the simple concept that safety is improved by removing parked cars next to crosswalks,” the SFMTA stated.

The new law requires drivers to leave at least 20 feet (or one large car length) between a marked or unmarked crosswalk and their vehicle, so approaching vehicles can see the pedestrians, the agency noted.

The goal is to prevent pedestrians from having to walk into the street to see oncoming vehicles and give drivers a better view of the crosswalk area.

The legislation (Assembly Bill 413) was passed in October 2023 by the the California State Legislature and replicates similar laws in more than forty other states.

The law as summarized by SFMTA:

  • Creates a new section of the Vehicle Code, CVC 22500(n), which prohibits the stopping, standing or parking of a vehicle within 20 feet of the vehicle approach side of any unmarked or marked crosswalk or 15 feet of any crosswalk with a curb extension anywhere in California.
  • On a two-way street, only the space on the right-side approaching a crosswalk as one is driving is affected. However, on a one-way street, both the left and the right curb areas 20 feet from the crosswalk are no parking zones.
  • Allows local jurisdictions to paint zones that are longer or shorter than 20 feet. If there is no paint or signs, the 20 feet distance applies.