CalBike is disappointed that AB 1713, the Bicycle Safety Stop, was withdrawn ahead of a likely veto from Governor Gavin Newsom. The bill would have allowed bike riders aged 18 and older to treat stop signs as yields. Riders would have been required to slow down, stop for pedestrians and cross traffic, and proceed carefully if the way is clear.
Once again, the governor has chosen to listen to law enforcement groups that oppose this bill. That opposition is based on biased accident data compiled by police who default to assigning blame for crashes to bike riders. A recent study added to previous data that bicyclists are often inaccurately deemed responsible for crashes.
Nine states already have similar laws on the books, and more are poised to join them. After Delaware legalized the bicycle safety stop, a study found that bike-involved collisions declined. Earlier this year, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration endorsed stop-as-yield laws, saying, “Bicyclist stop-as-yield laws allow cyclists to mitigate risk to their advantage, increase their visibility to drivers and reduce exposure.”
While our state has embraced measures to make driving greener, it hasn’t done nearly enough to encourage alternative modes of transportation. We need to make it easier, cheaper, more convenient, and safer for people to bike, walk, and take public transit so we can reduce our dependence on private automobiles.
The bicycle safety stop is essential to creating the bike-friendly California we need. The administration’s position on this essential bike safety measure is wrongheaded and counterproductive. If, as promised, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath introduces it again in 2023, we hope Governor Newsom will have the vision to support it.