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Connolly Strengthens Gate Safety Regulations in Response to Child Fatality

Alex’s Law establishes specified standards for large or vehicular gates in response to a child fatality at a school in Marin County

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2149, also known as Alex’s Law, which will improve the safety regulations for any automatic vehicular gate, manual vehicular gate, or any gate that is greater than 48 inches wide or 84 inches tall.  This legislation is in response to a tragic fatality in December 2019, in which seven-year-old Alex Quanbeck was killed by an unpermitted, poorly designed and ill-maintained 300 pound manual rolling gate during recess at his elementary school in Marin County.

“The tragedy of Alex Quanbeck’s death was both heartbreaking and preventable, and his story has touched our community,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “Strengthening gate safety measures addresses preventable tragedies by ensuring that if a gate’s structure fails, there will be additional safety measures protecting children from being crushed.”

Alex Quanbeck was playing football during recess at a Marin County private school when he attempted to close a gate, trying to keep the ball from rolling into an adjacent vehicle alley. As Alex pushed the gate closed, the rolling wheels detached from the gate rails and Alex was killed by the falling 300 pounds of metal.  It was later determined that Alex’s death could have been prevented if the gate had been equipped with a safety device called a post stop, which uses a pole to stop the fall of a rolling gate if its wheels come off the track. Ensuring that gates are properly equipped with these safety devices, particularly in schools, is essential to user safety and can prevent future tragedies.

Eric Quanbeck, Alex’s father, commented, “In honor of Alex, we started The Hummingbird Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving school safety through education and advocacy.  Tragically, we’ve discovered numerous child fatalities from gate failures that could have been prevented with safety devices.”

“No family should have to endure the pain of an utterly preventable death,” said Dayna Quanbeck, Alex’s mother. “We are proud that Alex’s Law will not only implement common-sense gate safety regulations, it will also save lives. Beyond our home state of California, the work will continue to improve gate safety throughout the U.S.”

Alex’s Law requires any automatic vehicular gate, manual vehicular gate, or gate larger than 48 inches wide and 84 inches high to meet specified industry standards, and requires that the owner of a regulated gate have it inspected on or before July 1, 2025, and re-inspected at least once every five years with written certification by a professional. To meet specified standards, the gate must not fall more than 45 degrees from a vertical plane when detached, the gate must not move under its own weight, any rolling wheels must be covered, and the gate must have a positive stop, which is an immovable component that impedes motion of the gate. If a gate is determined to be an immediate threat to safety, any use of the gate must immediately stop until necessary repairs are made by a licensed contractor within a prescribed period.

Alex’s Law was drafted with the support and collaboration of the American Fence Association, the largest membership association for the fence industry, with over 1,400 member companies and 19 chapters across the United States.

The American Fence Association is proud to support Alex’s Law to help improve gate safety,” said Michael Reed, Executive Director. “Our organization has worked closely with the Quanbeck family on industry initiatives that increase awareness, educate communities, and raise standards to eliminate gate-related injuries and deaths. By working together, community leaders, code enforcement officials, and industry professionals can improve gate design, installation, and maintenance of gates so that no more parents have to suffer the death of a child.  We applaud the work by Assemblymember Connolly and strongly urge passage of this important legislation.”

Alex’s Law is currently waiting to be assigned to a policy committee.



Assemblymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County