On March 22, 2021, the Assembly Transportation Committee approved the Safety Stop Bill (AB 122, Boerner-Horvath). The CalBike-sponsored legislation will make it legal for bikes to treat stop signs as yields. If the Safety Stop Bill wins the support of the entire legislature, bicyclists can proceed without stopping if there is no other traffic in the intersection and it’s safe to proceed.
At the hearing, Assemblymembers Laura Friedman and Buffy Wicks signed on as co-sponsors. CalBike Executive Director Dave Snyder was among those who spoke in support. The bill passed out of committee by a vote of 10-4.
The Safety Stop is safer: a similar law in Delaware led to a 23% reduction in bicycle crashes at intersections.
Safety stop wins wide support, narrow opposition
The list of supporters of the Safety Stop Bill is a who’s who of bicycle advocacy and active transit organizations from across California. The bill got statewide support from groups like the Safe Routes Partnership, PolicyLink, Transform, and California Walks, among others. National bicycle champions People for Bikes also signed on in support, as did the Berkeley City Council.
The only group that signed on to oppose the Safety Stop Bill is the California Association of Highway Patrolmen. Apparently, the CHP wants to protect its right to cite less than 200 bicyclists a year for this safe and commonsense behavior. Two AAA clubs opposed the bill unless the committee made specific revisions. The committee did not make AAA’s suggested revisions, though it did make modifications to the bill’s language. The committee also added a sunset date of 2028. The safety stop will no longer be legal at that time unless the legislature takes action to make it permanent.
What’s next for the Safety Stop Bill
The next stop for the Safety Stop Bill is the full Assembly. Your calls and emails to your assembly members will help ensure that the safety stop wins the votes it needs to move on to the Senate. We’ll let you know when it’s time to step up for the Safety Stop Bill.