California Vehicle Code 21756 states that the driver of a car that is overtaking a stopped streetcar or trolley must stop their car at a safe distance behind the trolley and wait for all passengers to board and exit the trolley or bus before driving again. You cannot pass a trolley, streetcar or bus unless there is a designated safety zone for you to use. A safety zone is marked by raised buttons or markers on the road and is meant for pedestrians to use. You will most often see safety zones in areas where streetcars, trolleys or buses and vehicles share the roadway.
If you are in an area where there is a safety zone or an officer directing traffic, you may pass a streetcar or trolley. First, you must make sure it is safe to pass. If it is safe to pass then you are allowed to pass so long as you don't exceed 10 mph. You also must use due caution and yield to pedestrians.
You may only pass a trolley in a safety zone when the trolley has stopped to accept or discharge passengers. Never pass a moving trolley outside the safety zone. Be extra observant when you are trying to pass near an intersection. Cross-street traffic may not be able to see you.
If you pass a trolley or streetcar too fast, or when it is unsafe you will be ticketed and fined. You could also be charged with negligence or reckless endangerment. Trolleys attract pedestrians, and many times the pedestrians will not watch for cars around the trolley. It is up to drivers to use caution and avoid accidents.
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