The California legislature returned from their spring recess on Monday, and various committees took action and scheduled hearings on the various bicycle related bills that we’re tracking here at Cyclelicious. Details on these bills below the break.
A hearing in the Assembly Transportation Committee is schedule for April 22 for Stephen Bradford’s AB 1371, which is another attempt at a 3 foot passing law for California.
AB 1194 dedicates funding for California’s Safe Routes to School program. Since the bill was introduced, bill authors Manuel Pérez and Ammaniano amended the bill to include language about non-infrastructure programs. The Assembly Transportation Committee plans a hearing on April 15, 2013.
Phil Ting’s AB 1193 to allow flexibility in bikeway design has been amended significantly to clean up and clarify the language of the bill. No hearings are scheduled as of this writing.
AB 206 to allow 3-bike-capacity bike racks on city buses operated by the Sacramento Regional Transit District was amended to establish a route review committee which would be tasked with reviewing routes on which these extended rack buses will operate. Any single member of this route review committee — which is comprised of a transit district official, a licensed traffic engineer, and a representative of the bus drivers’ union — has veto power over installation of these racks. I can’t decide if it was Caltrans or the Amalgated Transit Union — which represents Sacramento drivers — that asked for these amendments. Many bus drivers dislike the larger racks, and the union rep will shoot down these larger racks every time. Anybody who knows transit operations also knows equipping buses for specific routes adds significantly to scheduling complexity. No hearing is scheduled as of this writing for AB 206.
AB 417 to exempt bike projects from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review was rubber stamped by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and has moved on to the Appropriations Committee. No hearings scheduled.
As previously reported, AB 840 to require bicycle questions on the California drivers’ license test was gutted last month to completely eliminate any mention of bikes. AB 840 is now a distracted driving law that is intended to make distracted driving easier to prosecute. Hearing scheduled April 15.
I intially had some reservations about Mark Stone’s AB 946, which allows public transit buses in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties to operate on the highway shoulder. I’ve learned MST and Santa Cruz METRO plan bus operation only on limited access portions of Highway 1, where bicycles are prohibited anyway, so I support this bill wholeheartedly now. A hearing is schedule on April 10, 2013 in the Assembly Local Government Committee.
Finally, Diane Harkey’s AB 738, which exempts public agencies and their employees of all liability for any injury or death that takes place where a bike lane is available, languishes in the Judiciary Committee with no amendments, no scheduled hearings, or any other committee action. Still, it’s important to keep the pressure up against this bill.
The California Bicycle Coalition has their own watch list of important bills for 2013.