Q: I am going to start riding my bike to work. I know there are rules for bicyclists. Where can I get information on bicycle rules and road safety?
A: Bicycles on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists and are subject to the same rules and regulations. Information on bicycle rules and important safety tips are available online at dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37.htm.
While we’re on the topic of cycling, Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed AB 1371, known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, which requires a motor vehicle driver passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction to pass with no less than 3 feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or driver. When 3 feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine, regardless of whether a collision occurs. The law takes effect Sept. 16.
Q: I read that Governor Brown signed a law that will allow undocumented people to obtain their driver licenses. Can you tell me when the law takes effect?
A: You are correct. In October 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 60, which requires the DMV to issue driver licenses to undocumented drivers. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. In the meantime, the DMV has adopted regulations that detail how applicants can prove identity and California residency.
The DMV also implemented a plan to serve the approximately 1.4 million people who are projected to apply for a license under the new law. The DMV encourages all future driver license applicants to prepare for the written exam by studying the California Driver Handbook, available on the DMV website at dmv.ca.gov. The website also features sample tests that may be useful for applicants. The California Driver Handbook is available at all DMV field offices in 10 languages: English, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Q: I just received my driver license renewal notice in the mail. Does it make any real difference if I mail my payment or renew online via the Internet?
A: Congratulations on being eligible to renew by mail, Internet or telephone. To renew by mail, you must complete the renewal notice and send a check or money order payable to the DMV in the amount due ($33). Print your driver license number on the back of your check or money order. Renew early to receive your new license before your current license expires.
No additional fee is charged for renewing your driver license or identification card online. If you renew via the Internet, you may receive your license three to four days sooner than regular mail processing. In addition, paying online diminishes the customer’s carbon footprint by going green and saves the cost of postage. To renew online, visit dmv.ca.gov.
Q: My father gave me his old car as a birthday present. Because it was a gift, do I still need to get a smog inspection?
A: It depends. If you acquire a vehicle currently registered in California from a spouse, domestic partner, sibling, child, parent, grandparent or grandchild, you are entitled to an exemption from the smog inspection due when transferring a vehicle – unless the vehicle is due for a biennial smog inspection because renewal fees are also due. Other family members/relations are not exempt and must obtain a smog inspection certification. For more information on the requirements of transferring a vehicle between family members, visit dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/howto/htvr1.htm.