by Melanie Curry : streetsblog.la – excerpt
The California Bicycle Coalition held its Advocacy Day this week in the state capitol to lobby legislators on several key policy reforms to promote bicycling.
Joined by local bicycle groups from around the state and participants who finished the California Climate Ride in Sacramento, CalBike met with state legislators and staffers and urged them to support two bills currently in play: one that would codify “separated bikeways,” or protected bike lanes, into state law and another that would increase penalties for drivers who injure vulnerable road users, primarily bicyclists and pedestrians. Advocates also urged lawmakers to support increased funding for projects that promote “active transportation,” a.k.a. walking and bicycling.
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) showed up to stump for his bill, A.B. 1193, which would require Caltrans to develop standards for protected bike lanes, also known as “cycle tracks” or “separated bikeways,” which are not currently defined by statute in California. The state’s Streets and Highways Code defines three types of bike facilities: “paths,” “lanes,” and “routes,” each of which provide bicyclists with a different level of physical separation from motor traffic, and thus a different level of comfort and safety. “Cycle tracks,” which are on-street bike lanes separated from traffic by landscaping, parking, or a wide painted divider, don’t fit easily into any of the existing categories.
Although Caltrans recently endorsed the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guide, which does include guidelines for creating cycle tracks, no standard for them currently exists in California law….
Advocates also sought support for A.B. 2398, the Vulnerable Road Users Protection Act, from Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). The bill would raise the penalties when a driver is convicted of causing injury to vulnerable road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. The idea is not only to deter reckless driving, but to spark a cultural shift away from assumption that drivers have more of a right to the road than other users… (more)
It is time to let our State Representatives know how we feel about all the new laws they are pushing. Let them know how you feel about the Restore Transportation Balance Initiative and how you feel about A.B. 1193 and A.B. 2398.