The following post first appeared in Streetsblog California.
The two legislative houses have one more week to pass bills to the next house, where the process begins anew. Here’s a super quick and far from comprehensive update on some key street safety bills.
Already passed the Assembly or Senate floor vote:
Sidewalk Riding: A.B. 825 from Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Culver City), would prohibit police from giving bike riders tickets for riding on the sidewalk in areas where no bike lanes are present. CalBike notes that over ninety percent of these tickets go to Latinx riders, in areas that are frequently unsafe for riding bikes. Note that while the bill makes it legal to ride on sidewalks statewide – it already is so in many places, despite what some police say – it also clarifies that riders must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and go no faster than 10 mph.
A.B. 825 passed the Assembly 61-14.
Bike Lane Enforcement: A.B. 361 from Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) would allow city-owned vehicles to deploy cameras to record bike lane parking violations, similar to what is currently allowed for transit-only lane enforcement. This bill passed the Assembly 62-11, and has been assigned to Senate Transportation and Judiciary committees.
Intersection Safety: A.B. 413, from Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-Milpitas), would prohibit parking close to corners in order to clear sightlines and make crossing streets safer. This passed the Assembly floor 53-16.
Vehicle Weight Study: A.B. 251, from Assemblymembers Ward and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), passed the Assembly 58-15. The bill would require a task force to study the relationship between vehicle weight and injuries to vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, as well as road degradation, and to study the costs and benefits of imposing a passenger vehicle weight fee. If it passes, a report on the matter would be due from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) by January 1, 2026.
CTC Membership: A.B. 832, from Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), would require that at least one member of the CTC “shall have expertise in transportation issues and professional experience that includes experience working in, or representing, disadvantaged communities.” Note that while Governor Newsom has done a better job than his predecessor on bringing more diverse representation to this decision-making commission, the governor is not required by law to do more than “consider” a broader representation than just geographic. For many years this commission was run by developers and business interests. This bill passed the Assembly 61-15.
Bicycle Chief at Caltrans: S.B. 538 from Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Glendale) would require Caltrans to create the office of Chief Advisor on Bicycling and Active Transportation to help the department pursue its Active Transportation goals (and hopefully update them). This bill passed the Senate 31-5.
Pending, and must be voted on by June 1:
Stopping People for Minor Infractions: S.B. 50, from Senator Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), is an attempt to curtail pretextual police stops. It would prohibit police from “stopping or detaining the operator of a motor vehicle or bicycle for a low-level infraction… unless a separate, independent basis for a stop exists.” This bill is still pending on the Senate floor.
Transit Transformation Task Force: A.B. 761, from Assemblymember Friedman, would create a task force to develop “a structured, coordinated process… to develop policies to grow transit ridership and improve the transit experience for all users of those services,” with a report due from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) by January 2025. The bill is waiting for a vote on the Assembly floor.
Speed Cameras: Also still waiting is Assemblymember Friedman’s A.B. 645, which would create a pilot program in six cities to test the efficacy of using speed cameras to reduce speeding. More details in this past post.
Stop Signs: A.B. 73, from Assemblymember Tasha Boerner (D-Encinitas), is also waiting for a vote on the Assembly floor. This is the bill that would, if passed, allow bike riders to treat stop signs as yield signs, allowing them to proceed if the intersection is clear without fear of being ticketed. Note that Minnesota just passed a similar law, following the example of numerous other states.