CA Legislation: public agency immunity for bike lanes tabled

California bike lane design immunity bill tabled, for now.

Diane Harkey’s AB 738 was the controversial bill that would have conferred absolute design immunity to public agencies and their employees if a cyclist is injured or killed on any road where there’s a bike lane, whether the cyclist was riding in the bike lane or not.

Ms Harkey, who represents portions of Orange County in Southern California, told cycling advocates that she introduced the bill to encourage local governments to install more bike lanes. Although she denies there’s any relation, the city of Dana Point in Harkey’s district paid a record $49 million settlement to two women who were paralyzed in 2006 after they were struck in the bike lane by a hit and run driver.

The bill has languished without action in committee since introduction last February. After cyclists and advocacy groups around the state quietly communicated their dissatisfaction with AB 738 to the members of the Judiciary Committee and Local Government Committee, Assembly Member Harkey asked those committees to remove AB 738 from their hearing schedules.

Harkey’s staffers say she doesn’t plan to bring this bill up for reconsideration this legislative year, but hint we may see another attempt at this design immunity for bike lanes in 2014.

Thank you to Brenda in San Clemente for this followup information.