California's bicycle clubs organized into a state federation in 1972 to protect bicyclists' interests statewide and to encourage, maintain, and improve bicycling conditions.

CABO (the "A" is pronounced long) fosters and promotes a favorable climate for bicycling in California by representing the interests of cyclists before the appropriate governmental bodies to protect their rights and promoting laws, policies, and actions that treat cyclists equitably.

In addition to the usual officers, CABO has Area Directors which mirror the boundaries of the twelve Caltrans districts. All are unpaid volunteers.

Calif. Bike Summit in Oakland, CA.

November 19th, 2013 1 comment

I attended and must congratulate the California Bicycle Coalition, now apparently to be titled CalBike, for putting in a significant amount of work to bring off a successful gathering November 7 through 10 of people interested in promoting bicycling in California. Congratulations!

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

CABO supported it, Governor signs it!

September 24th, 2013 Comments off

Now I recommend we “talk this up” to help everyone understand that bicycling belongs; people bicycling may establish their right of way in a lane as needed and motorists/others seeking to pass are to do so safely with enough space – not just without hitting the bicyclist. Go for it!

“Cyclists will get 3-foot buffer under new law”
By LAURA OLSON, Associated Press 5 P.M.SEPT. 23, 20130
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he has signed legislation requiring California drivers to stay at least 3 feet away when passing bicyclists.

The proposal from Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, is intended to better protect cyclists from aggressive drivers. It states that if drivers cannot leave 3 feet of space, they must slow down and pass only when it would not endanger the cyclist’s safety.

The law will go into effect Sept. 16, 2014. Current law requires a driver to keep a safe distance when passing a bicyclist but does not specify how far that is.

At least 22 states and the District of Columbia define a safe passing distance as a buffer of at least 3 feet, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

Bradford’s bill, AB1371, was sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an avid cyclist who was injured in 2010 after a taxi driver abruptly pulled in front of him. It also drew support from several cyclist groups, such as the California Association of Bicycling Organizations.

“This gives clear information to drivers about passing at a safe distance,” said Steve Finnegan, government affairs manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California, which supported the legislation. “Everyone using the road needs to follow the rules and watch out for everyone else.”

Brown signed the legislation after vetoing similar measures in 2011 and 2012. Those bills would have allowed drivers to cross a double-yellow line to make room for a cyclist or required them to slow to 15 mph when passing within 3 feet.

The governor cited concerns that the provisions could spark more crashes or make the state liable for collisions resulting from a driver crossing a yellow dividing line.

Some lawmakers who opposed the bill, such as Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said it would be difficult to estimate a 3-foot distance while driving, especially when cyclists also might be swerving to avoid road hazards.

Bradford’s spokesman, Matt Stauffer, said case-by-case enforcement will be up to local police departments. The overall aim is to remind drivers and cyclists that they have a responsibility to behave safely on the road, Stauffer said.

A violation of the new 3-foot requirement would be punishable by fines starting at $35. If unsafe passing results in a crash that injures the cyclist, the driver could face a $220 fine.

The Associated Press

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Board adopts 6 E Policy

September 23rd, 2013 Comments off

Bicyclists should have the same right to fair and equitable treatment as other responsible road users. The basis for these rights is the expressed through the six Es approach that CABO supports:
 Equality – Legal: traffic law and legislation, including movements, access, equipment, uniformity
 Engineering – Transportation: road and bikeways development, design, and construction, and mobility and funding sources
 Enforcement – Police and Courts: Equitable treatment of bicyclists through citations, penalties, punishment, and trials
 Education – Schools and public agencies: Bicycling education for the public, engineers, planners,
law enforcement, and legislators
 Encouragement – Public and private agencies: advertising campaigns, promotions, etc.  Evaluation – Public agencies: Measurement of the effects of the other Es using relevant research methods and testing CABO supports equity in the treatment of all bicyclists in the implementation and evaluation of all Es.  Equality – The equal legal status and equal treatment of bicyclists in traffic law. State traffic law must be fair, equitable, uniform, and operator neutral to the greatest extent possible. Ability for people to access all public destinations by bicycle which are accessible by motor vehicle must be protected. State and local laws that discriminate against bicyclists, restrict their right to travel
individually or in a group, or reduce their relative safety must be repealed.
 Engineering – Roadways and bikeways must conform to relevant design standards and allow for safe, legal, and efficient traffic (which includes bicycling) movements. Design, construction, operation, and maintenance of roads and bikeways must equitably serve all users. Trip endpoint and waypoint facilities, such as parking and signage, must serve bicyclists.
 Enforcement – Bicyclists must be given equal treatment by police and the courts in the
enforcement of traffic laws and in the investigation of crashes. Bicyclists must be viewed as fully equal to other parties in the determination of culpability in crashes, the economic value of injuries or death, and non-economic losses awarded to crash victims.
 Education – Bicycling training should be based on treating cyclists as drivers. This type of bicycling is based on the same sound, proven traffic principles governing all drivers and is the safest, most efficient way for all cyclists to operate, by making them highly visible and their actions predictable to other road users. Training for those who design roadways and bikeways should consider the full range of bicycling behaviors.
 Encouragement – Promotion of cycling as healthy, economic, and environmentally sound method
of transportation and recreation. Encouragement may be done via promotional campaigns,
incentives for those choosing cycling, and promotion of cycling as a healthy activity. The
encouragement should be inclusive of all types of people who use bicycles.
 Evaluation – Evaluation of the other five Es (Equality, Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Encouragement). Evaluation must involve measurement, analysis, and research, using rigorous and statistically sound methodologies.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags: , ,

Why CABO supports AB 1371, “Three Feet for Safety Act”

September 16th, 2013 1 comment

What follows is the CABO President’s point of view followed by more detailed evaluation of Calif. Veh. Code current and proposed, paraphrased from research and text by Serge Issakov.

I support this bill because of my expectation, well hope, that incidences of antagonistic or clueless “buzz-backs”/scary close passing and hit from behind crashes will subside as people learn about the “Three Feet for Safety Act.” Passage of the bill can communicate that the legislature and the Governor respect the right for people to choose sustainable/Active Transportation – bicycling – for some of their travels; sometimes using bicycles in traffic lanes. I understand and accept that “Three Feet” is an arbitrary minimum distance for a vehicle to pass a person on a bicycle in the same lane. It may also be difficult for people or traffic enforcement personnel to gauge a yard of space; we’ll see. But, I recommend to anyone opposing the intent of this bill – a bill that only reinforces existing safe passing code (CVC 21750) – to do some, more, any bicycling in regular traffic; to experience what it’s like from the bicyclists point of view to try to use a full lane or “Share” lanes with people intent on speeding by without changing lanes. Unfortunately it won’t take too many days of bicycling experiences to find out what fear of close passing is about. Although I am in support of this bill, I will take this opportunity to say I was of course hoping for more. Not just for more distance from vehicles, but for more far reaching and substantive changes toward wider recognition that people should expect to be able to use our public roads while riding bicycles. CABO has developed and will be bringing recommendations for traffic law and enforcement changes. Our intent being to increase safety while encouraging sustainable and efficient transportation cheaply, such as repeal or major rewrite of CVC 21202, CVC 21208 and clean-up of a few other bicycling related vehicle codes – maybe next year.

Now, here’s a link and significant text, followed by some analysis from some CABO Board members, and finally our CABO recommendation letter to the Governor.


Currently, the passing of bicyclists is covered by 21750: The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.

Section 2 of AB1371 amends 21750 to remove the references to bicycles, resulting in this:
21750. (a) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle, subject to the limitations and exceptions set forth in this article.
(b) This section shall become operative on September 16, 2014.

Section 3 of AB1371 adds 21760, as follows:
21760. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Three Feet for Safety Act.
(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the highway.
(c) A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.
(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway.
(e) (1) A violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty-five dollars ($35).
(2) If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d), a two-hundred-twenty-dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that driver.
(f) This section shall become operative on September 16, 2014.

1. We are okay with distinct treatment of bicycles by the law where it reflects an actual inherent relevant difference from other vehicles. Here the law will treat the passing of bicyclists, in 21760, separately from the passing of vehicles (which will remain in 21750). The relevant actual difference here is the great difference in weight of a typical bicycle as compared to the typical vehicle. The difference is relevant because the lack of weight makes bicycles more vulnerable in close pass situations. The proposed wording of 21760 makes it clear that the passing requirements specified there are in addition to those already required by 21750.
2. 21760(d) brings recognition into the law that safe passing distance is a function of relative speed differences as well as passing distance. 21760(d) can be referenced as a justification for using the full lane until motorists slow down before moving aside to encourage overtaking.
3. I agree with others that the underlying idea is mostly based on Far to The Right (FTR) (CVC 21202) thinking. But we live in a world where most cyclists position themselves per FTR thinking, and motorists are accustomed to passing them thoughtlessly. I believe a significant factor in the recent San Diego, Camp Pendleton fatal and injuries crashes where a bus driver apparently overlooked 3 cyclists riding on the far edge of a narrow shoulder less 2 lane road and ran into them from behind is probably the lack of habitually taking care to notice and pass cyclists with care on the part of the bus driver. The combination of 21760(c) and (d) on the books provides a platform on which to remind motorists to develop safe bicycle passing habits. While we’d like to believe our efforts to encourage cyclists into using the full lane in such situations will be a huge success, we admit the likelihood that many will remain at the edge most of the time is very likely. To the extent that this bill may help ultimately cause at least some motorists to pass edge-riding cyclists with greater care is a good thing.
4. We can certainly imagine how 21760 might be used to argue against repeal of FTR/Mandatory Bike Lane use laws, as some suggest. But I don’t think such arguments are likely to actually be made. Further, we can imagine a counter-argument to those anyway. Just like riding in door zones is trusting all motorists to never make the mistake of opening their door without looking, riding FTR is trusting all motorists to never make the mistake of passing too closely. With the passing of AB1317, we can argue that just as we ride outside of door zones due to our distrust of motorists to always comply with 22517, we avoid FTR (and favor repeal of FTR) due to our distrust of motorists to always comply with 21760.
We do not see a significant likelihood of harm to bicyclists, bicyclist rights, or CABO’s mission if this bill passes. We do see how we could use 21760 to argue legal basis for our position that FTR riding is unsafe and should not be legally required, per Point 4 above, and to argue for using the full lane during gaps to encourage motorists to slow before passing, per Point 2. It may also be the law could be used to encourage safer passing of FTR cyclists by motorists, per Point 3. Therefore, our recommendation to support the passing of AB1317.

————————- letter to Governor Brown ———————-
I, Jim Baross, President of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, am writing to communicate our support for AB 1371, the “Three Feet For Safety Act” bill, as amended in the Senate as of August 20, 2013, after introduction by Assembly Member Bradford on February 20, 2013.

We support this bill for the following reasons.
1. To reassert the right of bicyclists to travel safely on our roadways, and the obligation of motorists to ensure this safety.
2. To bring attention to the inherent danger in unsafe close-passing of bicyclists by motorists.
3. To require mindful passing of bicyclists by motorists, with consideration to passing distance and relative passing speed as well as current conditions.
Jim Baross
President, CABO

CABO Supports Safe Passing Bill, AB 1371

September 2nd, 2013 1 comment

AB 1371 Sept 2013 Governor

The effort to reduce close, fast passing of people on bikes by people in cars that sometimes initiates a crash, often endangers the bicyclists, and too often discourages people from using a bicycle at all in normal traffic is facing a third try with Assembly Bill 1371. CABO is acting to support this latest version despite controversy about its likely effectiveness. On balance we think passage of the bill will be helpful. A more thorough explanation of our reasoning for support will be posted soon. Meanwhile, we encourage those in agreement to communicate to Governor Brown that you request that he sign the bill into law.

CABO Support of Assembly Bill 819

January 11th, 2012 3 comments

In our letter to Assemblymember Wieckowski, we expressed opposition to Assembly Bill 819 unless amended. AB819 will be amended, and CABO is now in support.

AB 819 would have permitted local agencies to follow “innovative” bikeway design guidelines from sources other than the Caltrans Highway Design Manual, as currently mandated by law. The reasoning for our opposition is in the Assembly Transportation Committee analysis, quoted from our letter:

We are always open to innovative ideas, but a number of facility innovations that initially seem attractive also appear to present significant safety issues. The available research on these facilities is not always reliable, despite being cited in a guide produced by a private organization. Legitimizing these designs, in effect, by statute, rather than by technical review, could expose bicyclists to potentially dangerous facilities.

We agree, however, that Caltrans has been too conservative in its approach to bikeway design, and we would enthusiastically support an alternative approach that would provide an efficient process for experimenting with new designs. A Caltrans sanctioned experimental procedure would relieve local agencies of liability for nonstandard designs; it would enable experimentation with innovative and improved designs in a controlled and rigorous manner that would be consistent across jurisdictions; and it would provide reliable information for revision of the Highway Design Manual.

As indicated in the bill analysis, the Assembly Transportation Committee recommended that AB819 be amended to specifically require procedures allowing local agencies to request Caltrans to consider innovative and modified bikeway project designs, and the author and sponsor of the bill have agreed to these amendments. This addresses our concerns above, and so CABO is now in support of AB819.

CABO Opposition to AB819 Unless Amended

December 28th, 2011 Comments off

State Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski
State Capitol, Room 4162
Sacramento, CA 95814

SUBJECT: CABO opposition to AB 819 unless amended

Dear Assemblymember Wieckowski:

CABO is the association of California’s bicycle organizations. In our meeting last week with Ed Imai of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Dave Snyder of the California Bicycle Coalition, and Heather Falkenthal from your staff, we heard proposals that AB 819 permit local agencies to follow “innovative” bikeway design guidelines from sources other than the Caltrans Highway Design Manual, as currently mandated by law.

We are always open to innovative ideas, but a number of facility innovations that initially seem attractive also appear to present significant safety issues. The available research on these facilities is not always reliable, despite being cited in a guide produced by a private organization. Legitimizing these designs, in effect, by statute, rather than by technical review, could expose bicyclists to potentially dangerous facilities. Read more…

CABO letter to Governor, 3′ passing

September 20th, 2011 Comments off

September 18, 2011
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SB 910 (Lowenthal) – SUPPORT ?
Dear Governor Brown:

I am writing on behalf of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations to ask that you sign Senator Lowenthal’s Senate Bill 910 into law. With the enactment of SB 910 and with wider public recognition of what is safe and appropriate motor vehicle driver’s behavior in the presence of bicyclists, everyone can benefit.

We expect that this clearer statement of appropriate passing distances by motorists of bicyclists, replacing the subjective guidance in existing law, will better inform people about unsafe passing and encourage more and safer bicycling – an appropriate goal toward providing a cleaner environment, safer traffic operations, and healthier Californians. Read more…

CABO Now SUPPORTS 3-Foot Passing Bill SB910

June 24th, 2011 3 comments

SB910 was amended in the Assembly on June 22. With minor exceptions, the amended SB910 language reflects CABO’s suggested wording for CVC 21750.1. Therefore, CABO has now changed its position on SB910 from “oppose” to “support.” Many thanks to Senator Lowenthal for adequately addressing our concerns.

Categories: Legal/Legislative Tags:

CABO Brings SB910 Concerns to Lowenthal’s Staff

June 14th, 2011 5 comments

CABO continues to take an “oppose until amended” position on “three-foot passing law” SB910.  CABO representatives recently met with Senator Lowenthal’s staff to address CABO’s concerns.

Although we listed several points in a previous blog post, a key concern was the exemption from the three-foot requirement when the motorist-cyclist speed differential is 15 mph or less. While this was intended to facilitate overtaking in slow or stopped traffic, this could have unintended consequences -such as giving a legal defense for a 55 mph motorist who passes within inches of a 40 mph cyclist traveling downhill.

CABO representatives suggested the following wording to address the 15 mph differential and other concerns: Read more…

Categories: Legal/Legislative Tags: