Stronger Voices for Bikeways to Everywhere—for Everyone
Bicyclists and our allies stepped up in 2015 to strengthen the voice of bicycling in California, growing the California Bicycle Coalition from a staff of two in late 2014, to a powerhouse of five by April of this year.
CalBike added to our team in 2015 by hiring Jeanie Ward-Waller as our full-time Sacramento-based Policy Director. We are more effective than ever and able to craft an ambitious agenda to build on the successes of 2015. Jeanie works with our lobbyists, our diverse coalitions, CalBike members, and our local partners to change the practices of state agencies and pass legislation that enables more people to bike.
Protected Bikeways Act Spurs Innovation at Caltrans
To comply with the Protected Bikeways Act of 2014, Caltrans’ Division of Design reached out to CalBike to help develop the state’s official design guidelines for protected bike lanes. By the end of this year, it will be official; engineers all over the state will add protected bike lanes to their toolbox of designs. Our advocacy within Caltrans got protected intersections included as a possible solution to bike safety at intersections, making California one of the first states to officially support that design. Still, the new guidelines don’t do nearly enough to enable more people to ride bikes so we have a great deal of work to do in 2016.
The California Bicycle Summit Convenes Hundreds to Expand Bicycling
About 250 people came together in San Diego for an amazing three and a half days of sharing and learning. Over 37 workshops, 9 plenary speeches, 3 bike rides, and 3 great parties, participants shared their successes and challenges in promoting equity and community building through bicycling. Planners and policymakers shared news about the latest developments in the private and public sectors. In keeping with the theme, Equity in Motion, all of us focused on ensuring that the benefits of bicycling expand to everyone in California regardless of what neighborhood you live in, what you look like, or how much money you make. “I felt like there is a community of people who care about the same things I do and that resources are out there to help me address problems,” said Blair Miller, a volunteer bicycle advocate from Pasadena.
Governor Signs Bill to Allow Diversion Programs to Increase Bicycle Safety Education
Until this year, offering reduced or eliminated ticket fines to residents who were ticketed while riding a bicycle has been barred by state law. Your California Bicycle Coalition changed that by sponsoring and winning AB 902, permitting diversion programs for ticketed bicyclists. Now it’s up to local advocates to get “diversion programs” implemented locally.
The electric bike boom is upon us, and it’s a good thing for bicycling. Where parents once needed a car to take their children to school in a hilly neighborhood, where seniors once relied upon paratransit to travel a few difficult miles, where delivery workers needed vehicles to carry heavy cargo, electric bikes can do the job. But until this year, they were still regulated as mopeds and banned from all bike paths. We worked with the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to update the regulations, carefully defining different types of electric bikes to ensure safety for all trail users.
CalBike Led the Fight to Defeat a Proposed Helmet Mandate
State Senator Carol Liu proposed a law requiring adult bicyclists to wear a helmet. The law was amended after the bicycling community spoke up loudly and clearly.
The California Dream Ride
Our signature fundraising ride to support our Bikeways To Everywhere Initiative got a new name this year—the California Dream Ride—and our second annual ride sure was dreamy. Riders not only enjoyed amazing coastal views and perfect southern California weather, they also got to meet political leaders and advocates working to make their communities healthier, safer, and more prosperous—through bicycling.