Complete Streets, Safety Language, E-Bikes, and Scooters Top Priorities at Bill Introduction Deadline
CalBike’s legislative agenda became more clear on Friday, the deadline to introduce new bills in the California Assembly and Senate.
Topping our agenda is the Complete Streets for Active Living bill (SB 127-Wiener) that would require Caltrans to implement safety improvements like protected bike lanes and sidewalks every time they repave or rebuild a state-owned road. The bill is similar to ones introduced in previous years but deferred due to a focus on defending new transportation investments that were threatened by Proposition 6 last year. If it passes, it will be the strongest complete streets requirement in the nation. Learn more on our campaign page, and sign the petition if you haven’t yet.
We are also sponsoring a bill that could be called Clear Language for Clear Safety (AB 697-Ting) that rewords existing code to clarify the legal right of someone on a bicycle to position themselves in the center of a travel lane if necessary for safety. Currently, the law requires people on bikes to ride “as far to the right as practicable” but exempts them from that requirement in “lanes that are too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to share side-by-side,” a circumstance that exists most of the time on city streets. AB 697 doesn’t change legal rights and responsibilities but it flips the description of those rights and responsibilities by clarifying a bike rider’s right to take the full lane unless it is wide enough to share.
Our e-bike agenda is advanced by our bill (SB 400-Umberg) to include e-bikes as a mobility option in state scrap-and-replace programs that provide vouchers when people turn in their old polluting cars for new electric cars, transit, or car-sharing, but not bike sharing or electric bikes… yet. Our e-bike agenda also includes a major budget ask: getting e-bike included in California’s purchase incentive program for electric vehicles.
Our other big budget ask is for some initial funding for our proposed bikeway network program.
CalBike is working with our local partners, state and national environmental groups, and representatives from the scooter industry to craft language for a bill (AB 1112-Friedman) that would regulate shared scooters in order to protect local authority to manage their streets while encouraging this promising micromobility transportation option.
We are also working with Assemblymember Robert Rivas to address a bikeway design issue to compel Caltrans to support designs that allow someone on a bike to travel straight through a right turn lane. Often, occupying the left portion a right turn lane is the correct lane positioning but unless the design enables it the maneuver is illegal, and Caltrans design officials are refusing to provide design guidance because the maneuver is illegal.
All of the bills we are sponsoring, watching, and supporting and opposing are tracked on our Legislative Watch page.