What can we say about 2022? We didn’t get everything we wanted, but thanks to advocacy from CalBike and our supporters and allies, it was a fantastic year for biking and walking in California. Here’s a short stroll down victory lane.
More money for biking and walking
California shows its values where it spends its money. Today, active transportation projects represent just a tiny fraction of the state’s transportation spending, but in 2022, that fraction got a little less tiny.
A diverse constituency advocated for $2 billion for bikes in the budget passed in 2022, and unfortunately, we came up short of that ambitious goal. However, we did secure the most funding ever for active transportation projects: $1.1 billion, a more than fourfold increase from prior years.
As communities across California scramble to fund projects to create Complete Streets and increase safety for people biking and walking, this extra money is crucial. It meant there was $1.6 billion available for the most recent funding round (Cycle 6) of the Active Transportation Program. As Streetsblog reported, this led to many more projects receiving funding and in a few years, we’ll see more protected bikeways and intersections as a result.
Of course, it’s still not enough. Every cycle, the ATP receives more excellent proposals than it can fund and has to turn away a higher number of worthy projects. Cities and towns understand that safe streets for all modes are essential for creating livable, sustainable communities. It’s time for the state to understand that too, and devote more money to bikeways and less to freeways.
Big wins for biking and walking
Our legislative recap provides in-depth coverage of all the bills that passed in 2022, so we won’t go into all the detail. Let’s just look at the effect of a few of those bills:
- The OmniBike Bill changes the vehicle code to make people on bikes safer both from collisions with motor vehicles and from police harassment.
- The Freedom to Walk Act prevents police from issuing jaywalking tickets unless the person was endangering themselves or others. That will eliminate unnecessary and often biased ticketing that impacts disadvantaged communities the most.
- The Plan for the Future Bill gives cities and counties a deadline to update their general plans to make biking and walking safer — and provides funding to implement those plans rather than letting them gather dust.
- Legislation on pedestrian crossings will bring Leading Pedestrian Intervals to Caltrans-controlled streets. LPIs give pedestrians (and people on bikes) a head start of 3 to 7 seconds before cars get a green light, reducing collisions and near misses.
The successes of 2022 give us excellent momentum heading into 2023, and we’re working on an even bigger and more ambitious agenda for next year.
Bike champions elected
Eight of the 11 candidates CalBike endorsed this year won election or reelection. Every bike champion elected to the state legislature means one more vote for bike-friendly legislation. Our big legislative wins in 2022 reflect the power of those votes. A big shoutout to all of you who biked the vote this year to help bring more progressive leaders to the California legislature.
Coming soon: Statewide e-bike rebates
We won funding for a statewide Electric Bicycle Incentives Program in 2021, and the program won’t launch until 2023, but CalBike has been hard at work on e-bike incentives this year. We’ve provided input to CARB on the details of the program, gathered and disseminated information to keep people up to date on the latest, and shared details about how to access other bicycle purchase programs. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the new year.
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