Advocates Saved Bike-Share — For Now
AB 371 passed, but without insurance requirements for bikes.
California passed a bill that will endanger bike and scooter sharing in California.
The Kill Bike-Share Bill (AB 371) would require providers of shared scooters (whether a private company, non-profit, or a transit agency) to carry insurance to pay for injuries caused through no fault of their own, including by the rider’s own negligence. It requires a study that is likely to lead to a similar requirement for shared bikes in the future.
Here’s the problem AB 371 is really trying to solve: Sometimes a rider parks a shared scooter or bike (most often a scooter) carelessly. Devices can block sidewalks, fall over, and cause tripping hazards. A bill to truly solve this problem might impose new requirements for parking or storing shared micromobility devices to keep sidewalks clear and prevent injuries.
That’s not what AB 371 does. This bill is more interested in profiting off injuries than preventing them. It seeks insurance settlements for personal injury lawyers and their clients. It does nothing to create safer, healthier communities. It will end up increasing driving and all of the harms associated with such an increase: increased injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes, reduced economic security for low-income people who rely on bike and scooter sharing, and worse pollution in already burdened neighborhoods
The Kill Bike-Share Bill singles out shared micromobility for an onerous insurance requirement. That will drive up the costs of bike and scooter sharing so severely that many programs will have to be canceled, and our hopes of expansion into low-income communities will be dashed.
California faces a host of problems: drought, fires, the climate crisis, homelessness, economic inequality, and dangerous streets. Our senators should spend their time on real solutions.
Bike and scooter sharing systems are essential to help mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions. The final version of AB 371 doesn’t change bike sharing insurance requirements, thanks to advocacy from CalBike and our allies. We will continue to monitor this issue and work to ensure that shared micromobility remains as accessible as possible.
Scooter and bike sharing are transforming transportation in communities around the globe and across California. Our state deserves this valuable transit option. Here are just four of the many benefits of bike-share:
Let’s stop AB 371 before it kills California shared micromobility or makes it too expensive for the people who need it the most.