Legislative Update: Active Transportation Wins Outnumber Losses as Bills Head to the Governor
The 2022 California legislative session included an impressive number of bike-friendly bills. At the end of the session on August 31, the active transportation scorecard is impressive:
- 3 bills have already been signed into law
- 16 bike-friendly bills are waiting for the governor’s signature
- 4 bills died in the legislature
- 1 bill was withdrawn by the author (in the face of a presumptive veto)
- 1 bill that will harm active transportation passed the legislature
End of session tally: 19 wins and 6 losses. Of course, this isn’t the end, since 16 bills still need the governor’s signature, and he has an unfortunate history of vetoing excellent, bike-friendly bills that have strong support in the legislature and the community. We will continue to advocate for all these bills — and you can, too. Please email Governor Newsom and ask him to sign all the remaining bills in the active transportation slate.
All the bike-friendly bills in the governor’s hands
Among the many excellent bills that passed the legislature are CalBike’s two sponsored bills.
The Plan for the Future Bill (SB 932, Portantino) will require general plans to include active transportation in their circulation elements and then actually build them rather than sitting on those plans.
The Freedom to Walk Bill (AB 2147, Ting) is a modified version of a bill we sponsored last year to decriminalize safe midblock crossings. The author reworked the bill to overcome the objections that led Governor Newsom to veto it last year, so this bill doesn’t decriminalize jaywalking but prevents police from issuing tickets unless the street crossing is truly dangerous. It will prevent over-enforcement of a “crime” invented by car companies to take control of the streets away from the people and reduce biased policing targeting Black Californians.
We’re also excited about the OmniBike Bill (AB 1909, Friedman), which edits the California Vehicle Code to make it more bike-friendly, including requiring cars to change lanes to pass bikes when possible.
And the E-Bike Incentives Bill (AB 117, Boerner Horvath), which became a two-year bill in 2021, is headed to the governor. The program was included in last year’s budget with a $10 million allocation to give low-income Californians vouchers to help them purchase an electric bicycle. CARB is in the process of getting the program off the ground, so this bill won’t materially affect the program launch. Still, the governor’s signature will strengthen the case for making this an ongoing program like EV rebates, with an annual budget allocation. That’s particularly critical because all indications are that this will be a very popular program, and the first round of vouchers will disappear quickly.
Here are the rest of the fantastic active transportation bills awaiting the governor’s signature:
- AB 2438 Friedman – Align transportation funding with climate goals
- SB 457 Portantino and Wilk – Car-free tax credit
- AB 2097 Friedman – No auto parking minimums near transit
- SB 1079 Portantino – Sound-activated enforcement devices
- SB 1472 Stern – Speeding and reckless driving
- SB 307 McGuire – Great Redwood Trail Agency authorization
- SB 1230 Limon – Zero-emission and near-zero emission vehicle incentive programs
- SB 922 Wiener – CEQA exemptions for transit and active transportation infrastructure
- AB 1919 Holden – Free student transit passes
- AB 2264 Bloom – Pedestrian head start at crossing signals
- SB 1107 Dodd – Protect California Drivers Act of 2022 increases liability insurance
- AB 2863 Wilson – Bike parking standards in building codes (research)
We hope Governor Newsom signs every one of these bills into law.
A few bills have already been signed
The governor is ahead of the game and has already signed some of the bike-friendly bills that reached his desk, two relating to bicycle education. AB 1946 (Boerner Horvath) requires CHP to develop statewide safety standards and training programs for users of e-bikes. AB 2028 (Davies) expands permitted school bicycle safety education partnerships in elementary and middle schools to include any agency or organization (not just law enforcement) at any public school. And AB 2174 (Chen) will treat bikes and scooters as vehicles for purposes of towing regulations.
AB 371 is still a threat to shared micromobility
AB 371, a two-year bill that stalled out in 2021, has passed the legislature. We have been calling it the Kill Bike-Share Bill because it initially imposed a crippling insurance requirement on bike and scooter sharing system operators that likely would have put an end to shared micromobility in California.
Thanks to Senator Anthony Portantino’s leadership, and intense advocacy by CalBike and our allies, bike-share has a reprieve. The author amended the bill to replace the insurance requirement for bike-share with a study of bike insurance. However, it still requires unprecedented insurance on shared scooters. That’s likely to price any shared scooter systems that survive out of the range of the people who scooter the most: residents of disadvantaged communities that are often underserved by public transit.
CalBike continues to oppose this bill, and we’re asking Governor Newsom to veto it. The more voices he hears in opposition, the more likely we will get our veto. Please email him now.
A disappointing end for the Bicycle Safety Stop
In 2021, CalBike sponsored the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, and we supported it when Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath reintroduced it with modifications in 2022. The safety stop allows people on bikes to treat stop signs as yields. This year’s version of the bill limited the safety stop to bike riders over ages 18 or older to address the safety concerns cited by the governor in his veto message last year.
Unfortunately, the author withdrew AB 1713 before the Senate could vote on it, reportedly because it was headed for another veto. The author plans to introduce it again, but it’s unclear what changes would convince Governor Newsom to sign it. We may have to wait for a new governor before California can join a growing list of states and the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration in endorsing this bike-friendly traffic law. Read CalBike’s statement about the Bicycle Safety Stop.
The bills that didn’t make it — this year
The five bills that died during their legislative journeys were all terrific measures that would have improved California’s climate and made our state more liveable. Two bills by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (speed cameras and adding visionary active transportation elements to regional plans) were also shot down in 2021.
We hope all these bills come back in future legislative sessions because they are important measures that California needs in order to transition to a more livable and less resource-intensive transportation system.
- AB 2336, Friedman – Automated speed enforcement pilot program
- AB 1778, C. Garcia – Prohibits any state funds or personnel from funding freeways in high-poverty or polluted areas
- AB 1975 Nazarian – California bus shelter funding
- AB 2237 Friedman – Regional transportation improvement plans
Thank you to everyone who sent an email or tweeted at your representatives about the active transportation slate or individual bills. A huge tide of support from the CalBike community was critical to advancing these crucial measures. With your help, we hope to convince the governor to sign many, if not all of them, into law.