Share the road: the OmniBike Bill shows that people on bikes belong
The bill changes California codes to make it easier and safer to bike, including changing lanes to pass.
The OmniBike Bill (AB 1909), authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, makes four crucial changes to California’s vehicle code. The provisions of this bill will remove pretexts for harassing people on bikes, help people on bikes and people in cars share the road more safely, expand e-bike access, and legalize commonsense biking. While each provision alone may seem small, taken together they represent a significant step forward in recognizing the rights of bicyclists to safely access public bikeways and streets.
CalBike helped pass the 3-foot rule in 2013. That required car drivers to give bike riders at least a 3-foot margin when passing. However, it’s almost impossible to measure 3 feet on the road, so this law is difficult to enforce. The OmniBike Bill will require people in cars to change lanes when passing someone on a bike whenever feasible, just as they would if they were passing a car. The extra margin will reduce near misses and collisions, and the clearer instructions will make it easier for car drivers to pass bikes safely.
More and more Californians are riding electric bikes, but some municipalities have tried to limit where people can ride them. The OmniBike Bill opens most bikeways to e-bikes, while still allowing communities to bar them from equestrian and hiking trails.
It’s often safer for people on bikes to cross an intersection during the pedestrian walk signal if that phase differs from the green light for cars. The OmniBike Bill makes this safe choice legal.
Some cities still have laws on the books requiring people to register their bikes and get a license. These laws are rarely enforced but may be selectively used, often as a way to harass people of color on bikes. The OmniBike Bill would stop the enforcement of bicycle licensing laws across the state.