2012 Legislative Year in Review

GOAL: Ensure that new and amended state laws make it possible for more Californians to safely choose bicycling for transportation and recreation. VETOED SB 1464 (Lowenthal): Safe passing Cosponsored by CalBike and City of Los Angeles Summary: Amends California Vehicle Code Section 21750 to specify three feet as the minimum passing distance for motor vehicles overtaking bicycles in the same lane. The bill would authorize drivers on two-lane streets and roads to cross a solid double yellow centerline in order to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when sightlines, traffic and other conditions make it safe to do so. To accommodate congested urban traffic conditions, the bill would allow drivers to pass closer than three feet by slowing down and without interfering with the safe operation of the bicycle, and raises the burden of proof on them to prove that the pass was safe. The bill would add a new penalty of $220 (base fine), which translates to $959 paid by violators, for an unsafe pass that injures a bicyclist. Current law: When overtaking other motor vehicles and bicycles, drivers must pass at an unspecified "safe distance."

SB 1310 (Simitian): Cell phone penalties Summary: Raises the base fines for violating the existing ban on hand-held cell phone use and texting by drivers from $20 to $30 for a first offense and $50 to $60 for subsequent offenses and adds a point to a driver's record for a 2nd or subsequent violation. The bill extends the existing bans to bicyclists, however, fines would be $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses (without additional court costs and administrative fees), with no point on a bicyclist's driving record for a violation. CBC position: SUPPORT
AB 819 (Wieckowski): Modern bikeway design standards
Sponsored by CalBike
Summary: Authorizes Caltrans to establish an experimental process for allowing cities and counties to install and evaluate protected bike facilities like those described in the Urban Bikeway Design Guide from the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Current law: Cities and counties must follow bikeway design standards contained in Chapter 1000 of the Highway Design Manual, which does not contain standards for some of the protected bikeways reflected in the NACTO guide.
SB 1339 (Yee): Regional Commuter Benefit Summary: Authorizes a 4-year pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area to adopt a commute benefit requirement. The benefit would enable commuters in companies with 50 or more full-time employees to receive subsidies for transit, vanpools or carpools, or employee shuttles, with pre-tax dollars as permitted by the IRS. CBC position: SUPPORT SB 1298 (Padilla): Driverless vehicles Summary: Pending adoption of standards to be developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this bill would authorize the licensing and operation of driverless ("autonomous") vehicles on California roads. CBC position: WATCH AB 441 (Monning): State planning Summary: Includes health and equity criteria in documents that the state uses to provide guidance on transportation planning and development. The bill would encourage regional transportation planning agencies to consider the health and equity implications of planning decisions as included in the California Transportation Commission Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Guidelines. CBC position: WATCH

AB 2245 (Smyth): Exempting Class II bike lanes from CEQA

Summary: This bill would exempt Class II bikeways (i.e., bike lanes built in the roadway) from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. CBC position: SUPPORT
SB 1380 (Rubio): Exempting certain bike plans from environmental review requirements

Sponsored by CalBike Summary: Most bike plans would not have to undergo extensive environmental review if this bill becomes law. It exempts certain specified potential impacts -- including those from bike parking, signage, and lane re-striping -- from the requirements that they must be studied to make sure the impacts will not be significantly negative for the environment. It would save local agencies millions of dollars that could be better spent actually making the streets safer. Our cosponsor on this bill is the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Status: The bill was placed on the inactive file during the final days of the legislative session.

AB 1989 (Carter): State park bicycle facilities Summary: Imposes a $2 surcharge on each new bike sold in California to help fund bicycle facilities in state parks. CBC position: OPPOSE Status: 4/24/12 hearing in the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee cancelled at the author's request. Because this bill failed to be voted out of the committee by 4/27/12, it is now dead.



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