Advocates Saved Bike-Share — For Now

AB 371 passed, but without insurance requirements for bikes.

AB 371 could increase the cost to rent a shared scooter.

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.

AB 371 doesn’t solve the problem

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 needs real solutions

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.

Lime bike-share e-bikes

The Kill Bike-Share Bill Becomes Law — But It No Longer Kills Bike-Share

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 371, which imposes an unprecedented insurance requirement on scooter-sharing systems, raising costs for operators and users. CalBike campaigned hard against this bill, and we’re disappointed that it passed and became law, but our diligent advocacy succeeded in reducing the potential harm from this measure.

AB 371, the Kill Bike-Share Bill, was first introduced in 2021 but stalled out in the Senate and became a two-year bill, thanks largely to strong opposition from bicycle advocates like CalBike and shared micromobility operators. The original bill imposed insurance requirements on shared bikes and scooters that were disproportionate to the harm these lightweight and low-speed vehicles can cause. It set personal injury limits higher than the insurance required of people who drive 2-ton automobiles.

Evolution from terrible to not so bad

The original impetus for the bill was pedestrians getting injured when riders park scooters carelessly, leaving them blocking the sidewalk. The hazard is particularly acute for the elderly and people with sight impairments who might not be able to avoid tripping on a scooter. Shared bikes are less prone to this issue because they’re less tippy and many of them have designated docks for parking.

The author made AB 371 into a two-year bill, so it came back in this legislative session. Many of you emailed your legislators to ask them to oppose the bill, and CalBike worked closely with the legislator and our allies to ramp up the pressure to change the bill.

In the end, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but the pressure made a difference. The final bill doesn’t require insurance for shared bikes (though it requires a study of bikes). That means California bike sharing programs, including those operated by nonprofits and transit agencies and the ones funded through state Clean Mobility Options grants, will still be able to operate. And the insurance requirement for scooters was reduced to a level that may not put scooter sharing systems out of business.

CalBike will remain vigilant about this issue, and we will oppose any efforts to require bicycle insurance on shared or private bikes. We keep up the fight with your support and help. Please consider chipping in so we can continue and expand our advocacy

4 reasons to save California scooter-share and shared bikes

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:

  • Bike sharing systems have reduced car traffic by millions of miles and promise even greater reductions in the future.
  • Micromobility is an essential last-mile link for public transit.
  • Where scooter- and bike-share are subsidized like public transit (as they should be) they reduce inequality by providing an affordable transportation option for people who don’t have cars and rely on transit, walking, and biking for their trips.
  • Shared bikes are among the safest kinds of transportation: safer even than personal bikes statistically.

Let’s stop AB 371 before it kills California shared micromobility or makes it too expensive for the people who need it the most.

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