It’s that time of year again when legislators introduce hundreds of new bills that could change the law in California. As always, as your leading statewide bicycle advocate, CalBike is keeping an eye on this for you. It takes a community of dedicated bike riders to get bike-friendly bills passed (and stop the bad ones)—we couldn’t do it without your support.
Happily, there were many bills that will support safer streets and better biking introduced this year, so 2022 will provide lots of opportunities for engagement and advocacy. We’re following measures that will improve biking and all forms of active transportation, mitigate climate change, and make California more liveable.
The bike-friendly bills list includes several pieces of legislation similar to bills introduced in 2021 coming back for a second try at becoming law, including two CalBike measures that passed the legislature, thanks to thousands of emails from CalBike members but were vetoed by the governor.
Here are the bike-friendly bills CalBike is watching.
Bicycle Safety Stop
AB 1713 (Boerner Horvath) is a reprise of last year’s campaign to pass the Bicycle Safety Stop and will allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields. In 2022, however, in response to the governor’s veto message on child safety, the new law will only apply to adults (age 18+). CalBike will be following this measure closely, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to ask your legislators and the governor for support.
Legalizing Safe Street Crossings
AB 2147 (Ting) is the sequel to the Freedom to Walk Act that passed the assembly and senate last year. After Governor Newsom’s veto, Assemblymember Phil Ting revamped the bill to address the governor’s concerns. The revised version will direct police not to ticket for safe pedestrian mid-block crossings (jaywalking). Ending enforcement of safe midblock crossings will reduce opportunities for police encounters that too often become violent for people of color, and CalBike will work to help pass this bill.
Sustainable Transportation Project Streamlining
SB 922 (Wiener) will help agencies install sustainable transportation infrastructure by exempting certain projects from unnecessary CEQA review. It applies to bike lanes, transit lanes and stations, HOV lanes, and related projects, as long as the projects are within existing rights-of-way and do not add automobile capacity. The bill will make permanent a temporary CEQA exemption put in place during the pandemic and add requirements for equity analysis.
Fix Deadly Roads Bill
SB 932 (Portantino) will require cities to adopt significant bicycle, pedestrian, and traffic calming elements when they develop and revise their general plans. General plans serve as blueprints for the future, prescribing policy goals and objectives to shape and guide the physical development of cities. In the past, plans in some communities have ignored the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders. As our planet warms, we can’t afford to bake unsustainable auto transportation into our city planning. CalBike strongly supports this measure.
Bikes Belong Bill
AB 1909 (Friedman) will change the state vehicle code to facilitate biking across our state. Elements of this legislation include requiring vehicles to switch lanes when passing people on bikes and expanding where it’s legal to ride e-bikes.
Signals for Pedestrian Crossings
AB 2264 (Bloom) requires Caltrans and cities to update all pedestrian control signals to give pedestrians a head start of 3 to 7 seconds. People walking will get to enter an intersection on the green light before cars get the green, which will improve visibility and, we hope, reduce crashes involving pedestrians.
AB 2237 (Friedman) when the governor vetoed AB 1147 in 2021, he said that the critical changes to regional planning it envisioned would be better accomplished through the budget process. Yet, money to implement bicycle highways and 15-minute neighborhoods is not in the governor’s proposed budget. CalBike and our supporters continue to advocate for $2 billion for bikes, which could fund some of the connected bicycle networks in this important bill. This bill is a transformative piece of legislation, and we hope, given a second chance, the governor will sign it into law.
Ending Freeway Expansion
AB 1778 (C. Garcia) will prohibit any state money from funding or permitting freeway widening projects in areas with high rates of pollution and poverty. As decades of research have shown, low-income communities of color are most burdened by highway pollution that causes unnecessary cases of asthma and other major health issues.
Transportation Funding and Climate Goals
AB 2438 (Friedman) requires all transportation projects funded at the local or state level to align with the California Transportation Plan and the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure adopted by the Transportation Agency. This effort will codify California’s efforts to align transportation funding with our climate goals.
The process of passing legislation is messy and complex, so things will undoubtedly change. Provisions may get added or removed from some bills that change CalBike’s position. We will work to strengthen and support these bike-friendly measures, and we’ll keep you up to date as the session progresses. See the status of all the legislation we’re watching on our 2022 Legislative Watch page.