The League’s report on California referred to many issues that CalBike has successfully campaigned on or is currently advocating for. We know California can do better, and we’re constantly working toward a more bike-friendly state.
Here are some of the ways that CalBike’s work has helped our state retain its high ranking and how we aim to push it even higher.
How CalBike’s advocacy makes California more bikeable
The areas of progress cited in the report are all issues CalBike has worked on. We led the campaign to pass the 3-foot passing law, and we advocate for more funding for bikes in California’s transportation budget every year. That has helped double the Active Transportation Program budget to build more bikeways. Still, we have much more work to balance California’s transportation spending, so it favors biking, walking, and public transit over climate-killing freeway expansion.
The report also cites Caltrans’ progress on Complete Streets, an issue that CalBike has campaigned for and followed closely for several years. And it mentions AB 43, a measure that gives local governments more authority to lower speed limits. CalBike supported that bill, which passed in 2021, and we are now working to develop a user’s guide to AB 43 that will help local officials take back their power by creating slower, safer streets.
The report also cited official Caltrans quick-build guidance that promotes tactics to build safer infrastructure in months rather than years. We helped Caltrans develop that guidance, relying on the expertise we developed in collaboration with Alta Planning + Design. And we produced the Quick-Build Guide: How to Build Safer Streets Quickly and Affordably and a webinar in December 2020 with Alta. CalBike has distributed copies of the guide to local officials across the state, and we continue to send out copies. Request a copy of the quick-build guide for your local planning department.
California got a score of A on traffic laws & practices, policies & programs, and evaluation & planning. But there are areas where the state falls short.
More work needed for biking in California
The state gets a B for education & encouragement, a B- for infrastructure & funding, and the report cited a $2 billion gap in funding in the last ATP round. CalBike’s $2 billion for bikes campaign seeks money to fill that funding gap, bolster the ATP, and build connected bikeway networks.
But that’s just the beginning. California ranked #7 for the share of people who bike to work (0.87%), illustrating the need for better infrastructure. California ranks 39th in per capita spending on biking and walking, a related problem.
To meet our climate goals, we must realign our transportation spending priorities away from highway-building and toward creating bicycle highways and 15-minute neighborhoods. We are actively pushing for bills to align transportation funding with California’s climate goals and transform regional planning to emphasize bikeable and walkable communities.
Many of California’s negatives relate to Caltrans, and CalBike works with that agency regularly. We have helped push Caltrans to honor its commitment to Complete Streets and improve community engagement. The report also cited California’s outdated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which guides local traffic engineers and often hampers reforms that would make communities safer for people on bikes. The MUTCD is an obscure but critical factor in creating bikeable neighborhoods, and CalBike is nerdy enough to have MUTCD reform as one of our priorities.
In 2021, California had a higher share of bike fatalities than 22 other states in a country with high bicycle fatality rates that are far too high. That figure illustrates why creating safer streets accessible to people of all ages and modes of transportation is a high priority for our advocacy.
CalBike’s success is amplified by a growing alliance of organizations prioritizing traffic safety and bicycle transportation. Our allies include biking and walking groups and NGOs focused on social and environmental justice, climate change, housing, and more. And we couldn’t do it without the large and engaged community of members and supporters, like you, who take the time to write letters, call your representatives, show up at protests and hearings, donate, and get out and ride.