California Senate OKs measure to limit mobile billboards

Reporting from Sacramento -- A loophole in the state’s mobile-billboard law has spawned fleets of motor scooters, bicycles and sleds hitched to large signs and parked along streets.

On Thursday, the state Senate approved a measure that would give Los Angeles and other cities broader powers to get rid of the mobile ads.

“We need to go after the new generation of mobile billboards, which are more annoying and dangerous than ever,” said Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), who wrote the new proposal. “This bill will help Los Angeles go after the fleets of mopeds with 10-foot signs being dumped all over the place.”

Last year, the Legislature gave cities the ability to regulate billboards mounted on parked trailers that are not hitched to vehicles. That allowed officials to force about 300 of the signs off Los Angeles streets, according to Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney.


But sign companies have found ways around the new rules, she said. They have hitched the sign trailers to mopeds and bikes or removed their wheels to get around the law.

Blumenfield’s legislation, AB 1298, would allow cities to restrict parking of sign-bearing trailers that lack wheels as well as those hitched to motor scooters. “This will be the next step in cleaning up our streets,” said Usher, whose office supported the bill.

The measure would also let cities set minimum distances that parked vehicles must be moved every 72 hours to avoid being towed.

The bill has passed the Assembly but goes back there for approval of minor amendments before heading to the governor.