New Laws for cyclists in 2019

By Robert Montano : fresnobee – excerpt

Each new year brings change to the California Vehicle Code. Many of these changes will have a significant impact on roadway safety. Californians are fortunate to have Legislators who work to identify and respond to the evolving trends of traffic safety. This year, we see changes to helmet use on bicycles, motorized scooters and the expansion of the hit-and-run offense within bicycle paths (lanes). Here are highlights on several of these new laws:

Helmet use on motorized scooters (AB 2989, Flora): Bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are age 18 or older. Motorized scooters may operate within a bicycle path and on highways with speed limits up to 25 mph. Local jurisdictions may pass ordinances to allow motorized scooters on highways with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. However, it is still illegal to operate a motorized scooter on a sidewalk.

Bicycle hit-and-run on bicycle path (AB 1755, Steinorth): The provisions of the felony hit-and-run law have been extended to cyclists traveling along bicycle paths. Currently, in the California Vehicle Code, a motor vehicle driver involved in a collision resulting in death or injury to another party is required to stop at the scene. AB 1755 clarifies that the same vehicle code also applies to bicyclists who cause injury-related collisions… (more)

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Transportation Sustainability Program February 2016 Updates

Public letter from the SF Planning Department

Dear San Franciscans,

Exciting news!

On September 27, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743 making changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Provisions of the bill affect the environmental review process in San Francisco, specifically how the Planning Department analyzes aesthetics, parking and automobile delay impacts.

State officials are proposing a new method of measurement regarding transportation analysis that recognizes the benefits of projects that reduce vehicular traffic. This guidance, last released in January 2016, calls for a measurement known as “vehicle miles traveled.” Vehicle miles traveled, also known as VMT, measures the amount and distance that a project might cause people to drive, including the number of passengers within a vehicle. The measurement aligns better with adopted state and City policies, it’s easier to calculate, and it will give us a better picture of the environmental effects of projects.

Given the inevitable change at the state level, the time is right for the City to make the change to this new measurement for environmental review. On March 3, 2016, a resolution will be in front of the Planning Commission that, if adopted as presented by staff, will remove automobile delay as a significant impact on the environment and replace it with a vehicle miles traveled threshold for all CEQA environmental determinations, including active projects, going forward.

Check out our updated Align page for more information.

More Updates : The Transportation Sustainability Fee has been approved!

The Transportation Sustainability Fee is projected to provide $1.2 billion in transportation improvements over 30 years, funding projects that help relieve traffic congestion, reduce crowding on buses and trains, and create safer streets. Specific improvements could include more Muni buses and trains; improving reliability on Muni’s busiest routes; more comfortable and faster regional transit; a better-connected bike network and safer sidewalks and intersections.

Proposed amendments to the fee program are currently under review at the Board of Supervisors. Be sure to visit our Invest page for updates.

Transportation Demand Management: SHIFT
On February 11, 2016: Planning Department staff will provide a brief overview on the Transportation Sustainability Program’s Shift component, the proposed Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Ordinance. TDM describes strategies or measures that incentivize sustainable ways of getting around. These types of travel choices are good for the environment, help manage congestion and improve the efficiency of the transportation network.  It’s about shifting people from driving alone in their cars to taking transit, biking or other efficient travel methods. Visit our Shift page for more information.

Upcoming Meetings:

Thursday, February 11, noon:
Noon – City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 400
Planning Commission Informational Hearing regarding the Transportation Sustainability Program, with a focus on feedback regarding SHIFT

Thursday, March 3, noon:
Noon – City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 400
Planning Commission Resolution regarding ALIGN (removal of automobile delay from environmental analysis)

If you have specific questions, please contact: TSP@sfgov.org
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Para información en Español llamar al: (415) 575-9010
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California state bills of concern to motorists

The NMA continues to advocate for motorists’ rights at the national, state and local level. Legislatures across the country took up a broad range of motorists’ issues in the second half of 2014. Here’s a brief summary of the driving-related issues we addressed.

California

Opposed Assembly Bill 1646 which would add a violation point for texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2393 which would increase vehicle registration fees to fund the implementation of an automated fingerprint identification system. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Assembly Bill 2398 which would establish penalties for a driver convicted of causing bodily injury or great bodily injury to a “vulnerable road user,” defined as a pedestrian, a person on horseback, a person operating a bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, a scooter, or a skateboard, and a person operating or using a farm tractor. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Supported Senate Bill 1079 which would protect against potentially higher fuel costs by exempting suppliers of transportation fuel from having to purchase carbon allowances until 2021. The bill died in committee.

Opposed Senate Bill 1077 which would require various transportation agencies in the state to implement a pilot program designed to “explore various methods for using a mileage-based fee (MBF) to replace the state’s existing fuel excise tax.” The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1183 which would allow local jurisdictions to impose a $5 vehicle surcharge to fund the expansion of, and improvements to, bicycle trails and bicycle parking facilities. The bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Opposed Senate Bill 1151 which would enhance penalties for numerous infractions and misdemeanors committed in school zones. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Brown.

Dan Walters: If bicyclists want respect and safety, they should act like they deserve it.

By Dan Walters : sacbee – excerpt

Hilary Abramson is one of the most talented and prolific journalists ever to practice the craft in Sacramento.

She’s also a personal friend for the past four decades, and thus it was horrifying to learn that she had been clobbered by a young bicyclist who was riding illegally on the sidewalk near her downtown apartment, causing very serious and permanent injuries.

The bicyclist paused briefly, then pedaled off without leaving his name – which, if he had been a motorist, would have been felony hit-and-run driving and earned him up to four years behind bars.

Hilary wrote about the incident in a lengthy Sacramento Bee article last month and about her mission to protect pedestrians from bicyclists who commonly use sidewalks as their personal paths…

We get it that bicyclists want respect and protection as they share roads with cars. But the flip side is that bicyclists need to drop the arrogance that too many exhibit as they cut in and out of traffic, blow through red lights and stop signs, and imperil pedestrians by careening down sidewalks.

The three-foot clearance law should be matched by one that absolutely prohibits bicycles on sidewalks statewide with stiff fines for violation, and another that makes hit-and-run bicycling just as much a crime as hit-and-run driving.

Moreover, if bicyclists want to be taken seriously, they should also be paying some of the cost of marking bicycle lanes and building bike paths, rather than making motorists pick up the tab, as the pending bill would do.

Fair is fair. With privileges come responsibilities, both legal and financial. And receiving respect means acting like you deserve it(more)

San Francisco to study dropping speed limit to 20 mph for pedestrian safety

By : sfbg – excerpt

As a part of a citywide effort to eliminate all pedestrian deaths by 2024 San Francisco will study the impact of reducing speed limits to 20 mph.

“This is a reasonable issue to look into to making San Francisco streets safer,” Supervisor Eric Mar said, in a statement. “There is too much excellent work and research going into it nationally and internationally to ignore.” 

The study was proposed by Mar as part of Vision Zero – a Swedish concept adopted by San Francisco at the behest of Supervisor Jane Kim earlier this year. The initiative aims to reduce pedestrian deaths to zero within ten years, with a focus on educating drivers, engineering roads for safety and enforcing traffic laws (which the SFPD agreed to reform ealrier this year). Data from the study should be available in early fall…

Lauterborn said even if the study shows a 20 mph speed limit would be beneficial, there are state laws that might prevent SF from lowering the speed limit. Local governments can only set the speed limit lower than 25mph on streets smaller than 25 feet wide or in business, residential, or school zones. To lower the speed limit to 20mph on a street like Sunset, the city would likely need state permission… (more)

“…To lower the speed limit to 20mph on a street like Sunset, the city would likely need state permission…”

RELATED:
San Francisco to Study Lowering Speed Limit to 20 mph

The SF Chronicle Asks SFMTA Spokesmodel Paul Rose for Pedestrian Law Advice and He Gets It 100% Wrong: Countdown Timers

sfcitizen – excerpt

Here we go:

Is a pedestrian supposed to stop as soon as the numbers start to flash? Can the walker proceed throughout the countdown? Or, as one letter writer seemed to think, is the countdown really for the benefit of drivers? We asked Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, for the answer.

“It’s an awareness tool to let pedestrians know how much time they have to cross the street,” he said. “All pedestrians are strongly encouraged to make responsible decisions on when they should or shouldn’t cross.” But can a pedestrian get ticketed – ha! – for starting to walk when the countdown is near zero? Nope. “They can start whenever they want,” Rose said.”

Now here’s what a countdown timer looks like, in the City and County:

Note that San Francisco peds see an “approved upraised hand symbol” right next to the countdown timer.

Now here’s Da Law:

“Flashing or steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol: No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.”

Oh, here’s another stab at this subject:

According to California Vehicle Code 21456, pedestrians can’t walk if there’s a “Don’t Walk” sign or an upraised hand symbol. Anyone who has started crossing after one of those flashes should proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone.

And this appears to be a common ticket handed out to peds near the LA County Courthouse.

And here’s another reference

“V C Section 21456 Walk Wait or Don’ t Walk

Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk

21456.  Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words “WALK” or “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:

(a) “WALK” or approved “Walking Person” symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.

(b) Flashing or steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.

Amended Ch. 413, StaEts. 1981. ffective January 1, 1982″… (more)

Uber Admits That Driver Arrested For Killing 6-Year-Old Worked For Them

by Dan McMenamin : – excerpt

A driver with the San Francisco transportation company Uber was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter for striking and killing a 6-year-old girl in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood on New Year’s Eve, police and company officials said today….
The company issued a statement saying the collision did not involve a vehicle making a trip with a passenger on Uber, but said it could not confirm whether the driver was associated with the company.
“Our policy is to immediately deactivate any Uber partner involved in a serious law enforcement matter,” the statement said.
“For that reason, we urge the police to release information about the driver in question as soon as possible. If the driver is a partner of Uber, his or her Uber account will immediately be deactivated,” the statement said… (more)

CEQA Roundup: What’s next after Rubio?

March 01, 2013 by Justin Ewers : caeconomy.org – excerpt

The CEQA legislation has taken a backseat to the news story of Rubio’s Senate departure.
California political reporters have spent much of the last week taking a deep dive into the implications of Michael Rubio’s departure from the Senate—while largely ignoring the actual CEQA legislation Sen. Darrell Steinberg introduced last Friday…

But What about CEQA?(more)
And why should we care?

Because the Environmental laws are the primary argument against restrictive parking policies that are disrupting our neighborhoods.
Between efforts at that state level, led by lobbies financed by lobbies and special interests groups, and the efforts being waged in SF to curtail the rights of citizens to control their environment and question big development projects before any contracts are signed, there is much for our local press to investigate.

The number one question that comes to mind is.”Do you trust government agencies to always act in the public interest? If that answer is “No”, you will want to preserve the right to appeal their decisions.

Bills of particular interest: Seeking project exemptions: A half-dozen bills seek exemptions for specific projects, including bike projects (AB 417), light and high-speed rail (SB 525), and energy management projects (AB 628, AB 930, and AB 1079).

RELATED: sfceqa.wordpress.com

Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) Environmental Review Process

sf-planning.org – excerpt

The Planning Department is conducting environmental review of the TEP in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The environmental review process provides decision-makers and the general public with an objective analysis of the immediate and long-range specific and cumulative environmental impacts of a proposed project on its surrounding physical environment. In California, environmental review is two-fold in purpose: to disclose the impacts of a project and to ensure public participation. The San Francisco Planning Department serves as the Lead Agency and will prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) to evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP)

Initial Study

The Planning Department has determined that preparation of an Initial Study (IS) would be appropriate to focus the scope of the environmental impact report (EIR). The Initial Study is currently available for public review and available for download below. Click here to download Initial Study (IS).

The Planning Department is accepting written public comments on the environmental analysis in the IS for the TEP. The Initial Study public comment period is from Thursday, January 24, 2013 through 5:00pm on Friday, February 22, 2013

For Information on the TEP Program, please visit the SFMTA Web page for the TEP: www.sftep.com(more)

This is a serious piece of business as both the state and local governments are attempting to change the rules that regulate the developers and allow citizens the right and the time to appeal government decisions that effect our environment and our lives.

New apps make it easier to drive, park in SF

By Jonathan Bloom : ABClocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Getting around San Francisco can be a big headache, whether you’re stuck in traffic or just trying to park. But now, two apps for your mobile phone aim to make your trip around town faster and cheaper…

“KurbKarma is a social network for parking that helps you find parking where and when you need it, in cities like San Francisco,” said Sampat… Just open the free app on your smartphone, and tell it where you need a spot. Other users who have a parking space, but are about to leave can offer you theirs…

The smartphone app finds your location and asks where you’re going. It alerts a nearby driver and if he’s going the same way, he can agree to pick you up…
But SideCar’s getting a lukewarm reception from the San Francisco MTA. They’re concerned it’s an unlicensed taxi service, skirting around all the city’s taxi laws that are designed to keep people safe. SideCar’s CEO insists those laws don’t apply…

(more)

Related:

Parking Panda helps parking facilities rent spaces to people looking for parking, in unused driveways.