California AB 738 hearing scheduled

AB 738- Absolute bike lane design immunity.

Detour signs block bike lane *and* sidewalk

A hearing has been scheduled for April 23, 2013 in the Assembly Judiciary Committee for Diane Harkey’s AB 738, which exempts public agencies and their employees of all liability if a cyclist is injured or killed on any street where a bike lane has been painted.

The immunity applies whether the cyclist is in the bike lane or not. Currently, public agencies and employees already have fairly broad “design immunity” under California Government Code 830.6 for any public works project that falls within accepted engineering guidelines. AB 738 would expand this immunity for any project with bike lanes and makes the immunity absolute, applying even when there are gross defects in the design and implementation of the bike lane (but we never see anything like that in California, right?).

Several cycling and cyclist advocates around California have already been working quietly to get this bill killed, and the response from legislative staffers has been encouraging. Now is the time to contact members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know your concerns about AB 738, especially those of you who live in districts represented by a member of this committee.

Assembly members on the Judiciary Committee are:

Please keep in mind that the cities I’ve listed above are generally the District office locations, while the district they represent will cover a larger area. Mark Stone, for example represents most of Santa Cruz County and portions of Santa Clara and Monterey Counties.

Each of these pages has a “Contact” button that allows you to send a 200 character message to your representative. I’ve already sent my note to Mark Stone. The California Bicycle Coalition has also created a petition to stop AB 738 that will be presented.

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