The Bicycle Safety Stop Bill (AB 122, Boerner Horvath) passed the Assembly with solid support in April, but opposition is building in the Senate. So elected city councilors across California are voicing their support for the bill. They recognize the importance of having state laws that conform to the ways their residents safely bicycle through intersections with stop signs: yielding as appropriate, stopping when necessary, but otherwise safely rolling through.
“The state should be doing everything in its power to encourage more people to bike in order to reduce driving and climate change impacts from transportation, improve public health, and improve air quality,” said Katie Valenzuela of the Sacramento City Council. “AB 122 aligns with the sustainability goals of the City of Sacramento by removing obstacles to safe and reasonable biking. We should be encouraging — not penalizing — smart riding in our state.”
Bob Blumenfield of the Los Angeles City Council says that AB 122 is “common-sense legislation that will align State law with the way that people safely ride their bikes today and, at no cost, make our local neighborhood streets more conducive to bicycling.” He is careful to add that it’s also important that Los Angeles is “working to build out a network of bike paths, bike lanes, and other physical infrastructure.”
Rigel Robinson of the Berkeley City Council notes that his city’s deprioritizing enforcement against bicycles who yield but don’t stop at stop signs is not enough. “State action is needed to fully exempt bicyclists from this law and focus instead on motorist behaviors that pose a true threat to safety,” he said.
These officials represent just a few of the cities whose city councils have quickly managed formal votes in support of AB 122. Numerous California cities have taken positions in favor of the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, including:
- Los Angeles
- San Luis Obispo
- Santa Barbara
- West Hollywood
- West Sacramento
League of California Cities Transportation Committee Supports AB 122
Another indication that city leaders understand the importance of the bicycle safety stop is the June 4 vote to support AB 122 by a committee of the League of California Cities, a statewide policy and advocacy organization that opposed a similar bill in 2017.
Its Transportation, Communications, and Public Works Policy Committee includes John Bauters, Emeryville Council Member and a lifelong cyclist. He came prepared to explain the benefits of the Bicycle Safety Stop to his fellow committee members. He explained how stopping at stop signs can endanger bike riders because stopping and restarting increase the chance of a rider stumbling and falling and because impatient car drivers are more likely to cut bikers off. He explained how the average person on a bike travels through an intersection at 5 to 7 mph and can quickly stop if necessary and explained that car drivers are more likely to see a moving bike rider because movement makes objects easier to spot.
As one of the only regular bike riders on the committee, he understood that the bicycle safety stop isn’t intuitive for non-riders. He answered questions from his fellow committee members and gave a shout-out to them on Twitter for being willing to ask questions and understand the issue.
The Committee voted 22-7 in favor of AB 122. The League’s executive committee still must weigh in before the organization takes an official position.
“I’m hopeful that the League Executive Board will support the recommendation because it’s a smart measure for cities,” Bauters said. So are we.
“After COVID, cities have seen that more and more people are relying on active transportation to perform and complete daily trips and tasks,” Bauters said. “AB 122 is a sensible measure that will make the roads safer to Californians who bicycle.”
What you can do to support the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill
If you want to see California join Oregon and Washington states (among others) in making the safety stop law, there are several ways to get involved.
- Lobby your town or city to take a position in favor of AB 122 (and let CalBike know if you succeed).
- Email your senator and ask them to support the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill. It just takes a minute to send an email with our action tool.
- Post your support on social media using the hashtag #BicycleSafetyStop. Feel free to add the graphic below to your post.
We are optimistic that we can pass the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill this year – but we’ll need your support to make it happen.