Legislative Update: Status of Active Transportation Bills at the Midpoint
May 27 was the deadline for bills to move from one house of the California legislature to the other. Anything that didn’t move by that date is dead for this year, with the exception of two-year bills that made the move last year. At the midpoint, all but two of the bike- and climate-friendly bills CalBike supports have advanced. And one two-year bill we oppose remains stubbornly alive.
As these measures move ahead, we’ll need many voices speaking out for creating more space for bikes on our streets, decriminalizing safe street crossings, forward-thinking transportation planning, and much more. Look for opportunities to take action and sign our list to be the first to know about upcoming votes.
First, the bad news
The Appropriations Committees of both houses wield outsize power over the fate of legislation. Bills over a certain fiscal threshold get placed in the suspense file. If someone doesn’t want to see a bill advance, then it never makes it out of suspense. Any bills left in suspense won’t get a floor vote and won’t advance to the other branch of the legislature.
Unfortunately, two bills that CalBike supported got killed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 1975 would have put more bus shelters on the streets, a welcome change. We hope this is just a temporary setback for a worthy idea.
And AB 2336, which was another try at a speed camera pilot, also ended up stuck in suspense, with no reason given. Speed is what kills on our streets, and speed cameras, if implemented well, could truly enforce posted speed limits. However, most Californians drive, as do most members of the Assembly, and people who drive don’t like to get speeding tickets, so this one is a tough sell. And some progressive advocates worry that speed camera programs could reinforce bias if camera surveillance focused on disadvantaged neighborhoods, leading to increased fines, which would have a disproportionate impact on low-income populations. So this worthy project is dead for another year, but we hope that legislators and advocates will find a version that everyone can live with in the near future.
Bike-share still in danger
AB 371, the Kill Bike-Share Bill, sits where it stopped last June, in the Senate Committee on Insurance. The bill imposes heavy insurance requirements on shared bike and scooter systems, and the cost would end shared micromobility in California as those systems continue to grow in popularity and usefulness. CalBike is committed to promoting bike-share and making it better[link], and we are working hard to defeat this bill.
Although this harmful legislation hasn’t moved yet in 2022, we expect action soon. It’s critical that our elected representatives understand just how unpopular it is. Please tell your senator to oppose AB 371.Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on AB 371 to Save Bike-Share
CalBike-sponsored bills move forward
CalBike is sponsoring a bill to decriminalize safe, mid-block street crossings (formerly known as jaywalking) and one that will get California communities to build safer, more equitable streets quickly. We’re also including the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill in this category even though we aren’t officially sponsoring it this year because we strongly support that measure and are working to help it through the legislative process.
Stop Ticketing Safe Street Crossings
AB 2147 (Ting) will direct police not to ticket for safe pedestrian mid-block crossings. Ending enforcement of this offense, which was invented by car companies to reserve civic space for car dominance, will reduce opportunities for police encounters that too often become violent for people of color. It passed the Assembly and will now move through committees in the Senate.Tell your senator to vote YES on AB 2147 to legalize walking
Plan for the Future Bill
SB 932 (Portantino) will require cities to revise the circulation element of their general plans to include bicycle and pedestrian facilities and start implementing the changes within two years. The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the Assembly Local Government and Transportation Committee.Tell your assembly member to support SB 932, the Plan for the Future
Bicycle Safety Stop Bill
AB 1713 (Boerner Horvath), is a revised version of last year’s campaign to pass the Bicycle Safety Stop that will allow people on bikes who are over 18 to treat stop signs as yields. CalBike is not an official sponsor this year, but we’re strongly supporting this measure. The bill passed the Assembly and will now move through the Senate.Tell your senator to vote YES on the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill
Other critical active transportation bills moved forward
This is a good year for human-powered transportation bills in California. Several other bills that CalBike strongly supports are advancing. Some have jetted ahead, and others will require a huge effort to overcome entrenched opposition from automotive, freeway building, oil, and other special interests.
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. It’s hard to overstate the significance of the OmniBike Bill. If it passes into law, it will signal that California recognizes that bikes belong on our streets. This measure is already in the Senate Transportation Committee, where it’s scheduled for a vote on June 14.Tell your senator to vote YES on the OmniBike Bill
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. This bill is a long shot and it barely squeaked through the Assembly, but it’s a critical measure that recognizes the environmental and societal destruction wrought by building freeways. It would be a significant step toward reversing the state’s emphasis on choking our cities with highways instead of improving public transit and creating complete streets. We will be pushing hard to get this measure to the governor’s desk, and we hope you will too.
Many more active transportation bills have momentum
Several more bills that CalBike supports are moving through the legislature, demonstrating that California legislators recognize that support for active transportation and safer streets is the logical choice.
These bills have moved from the Assembly to the Senate:
- Signals for Pedestrian Crossings AB 2264 (Bloom)
- Sustainable Regional Planning AB 2237 (Friedman)
- Aligning Transportation Funding with Climate Goals AB 2438 (Friedman)
- No Auto Parking Minimums Near Transit AB 2097 (Friedman + Lee, Skinner, Wiener)
- Free Student Transit Passes AB 1919 (Holden)
- E-Bike Safety Training Program AB 1946 (Boerner Horvath)
- Bike and Scooter Safety Instruction AB 2028 (Davies)
- Advance Pedestrian Crossing Signals AB 2264 (Bloom)
- Bike and Scooter Towing AB 2174 (Chen)
- Driving Privilege Suspension AB 2746 (Friedman)
- Bike Parking Guidelines AB 2863 (Wilson)
These bills have moved from the Senate to the Assembly:
- CEQA Exemptions SB 922 (Wiener)
- Sound-Activated Enforcement Devices SB 1079 (Portantino)
- Speeding and Reckless Driving SB 1472 (Stern)
- E-Bike Incentives SB 1230 (Limon)
- Protect California Drivers Act of 2022 SB 1107 (Dodd)
Some of the bills CalBike supports will have a tougher route to passage in their second house. And, even if the legislature does the right thing, Governor Newsom has often vetoed bike-friendly legislation. See the status of all the legislation we’re watching on our 2022 Legislative Watch page and look for opportunities to take action to help grow support for a more bike-friendly California.