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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
1. The law already provides that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance without interfering with their safe operation.
2. We don’t believe that three feet is measurable or enforceable in practice.
3. Emphasizing three feet as the passing distance may encourage some drivers to pass too closely when greater clearance is needed.
4. A 15-mph speed differential also can’t be measured or enforced, and is not always appropriate.
5. By amending CVC 21750 to remove references to bicycles and replacing it with CVC 21750.1, which always requires passing on the left, the bill apparently makes it unlawful to pass a bicyclist on the right, even if the bicyclist is turning left.
6. The language of proposed CVC 21750.1 is ambiguous:
“The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance, at a minimum clearance of three feet or at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the speed of the bicycle, without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle.”
“At a safe distance,” “at a minimum clearance of three feet,” or “at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour faster than the speed of the bicycle” can be read as a series of three items any one of which is sufficient. It’s also unclear whether “without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle” modifies all of these, or only the last.
7. We support the concept of permitting motorists to cross double yellow lines to pass bicyclists. However, “substandard width lane” is undefined, and the condition given, when “it is safe to do so,” is too vague and allows too much latitude for driver misjudgment.
(June 24 update: CABO Now SUPPORTS 3-Foot Passing Bill SB910)
There has been talk of legislation being introduced in California to emulate Idaho law, which allows stop signs and/or red lights to be treated as yields by bicyclists. This was posted by David Takemoto-Weerts on January 29 to the “Handlebar” listserve for the Davis Bicycles advocacy group.
At the risk of becoming a pariah among local cycling advocates, I have to respectfully disagree with efforts to support the enactment of the “Idaho law” in California. And let me preface my comments by explaining that I am a daily cyclist (for over 40 years) who always stops at stop signs and always waits for the green light. Read more…
On January 6, a bicycling task force was formed during a meeting in State Senator Kehoe’s Sacramento office. That meeting was successful and we now have a working task force in place, thanks to the team of bicycling advocates: representing the League of American Bicyclists, the California Association of Bicycling Organizations and the California Bicycle Coalition: CABO President and CBC Board member Jim Baross, CABO lobbyist James Lombardo, CABO Legislative Liaison Alan Wachtel, and CABO Transportation Engineering Liaison Bob Shanteau.
Below is a report on that meeting, but first a little background on how the meeting came about: Read more…
AB1581, which became law in 2008, requires all new or replaced traffic signals to respond to the presence of bicyclists. In addition, a requirement to develop signal timing guidance was also a part of AB1581. Both are incorporated in Policy Directive 09-06 from Caltrans.
The video clip below is of a cyclist making a left turn from a residential collector onto a six lane arterial. Although it’s a bit difficult to see in the video due to the wide angle lens, the cyclist’s position when the light turns green for traffic on the arterial is in the middle of the number two lane. The cyclist reaches the bike lane on the other side at about 12 seconds after receiving the green.