Governor Brown Signs Protected Bike Lane Bill, Car Fee for Bike Paths

Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills on Saturday that will make it easier for California cities to build better bike infrastructure.

The governor approved Assembly Bill 1193, which means protected bike lanes, or cycletracks, will become an official part of Caltrans’ guidelines on bike infrastructure. Brown also signed Senate Bill 1183, which will allow local governments to use a vehicle surcharge to pay for bike paths and bike facility maintenance.

 Long Beach's cycletracks open this Saturday - all photos by Joe Linton
Governor Brown recently approved A.B. 1193, which would allow protected bike lanes, like this one on 3rd Street in Long Beach, CA, to be more easily implemented throughout California. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

State To Create Standards Supporting Protected Bike Lanes

A.B. 1193, by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will require Caltrans to create engineering standards for protected bike lanes, which until now have been discouraged by a complex approval processes and a lack of state guidance. This new class of lane — called cycletracks, or “class IV bikeways,” in Caltrans terms — are separated from motor traffic using a physical barrier, such as curbs, planters, or parked cars.

Protected bike lanes have been shown to increase the number of people bicycling on them, to make cyclists feel safer, and to decrease the number of wrong-way and sidewalk riders on streets that have them.

The new law will also allow cities and counties to build cycletracks without consulting Caltrans, unless the facilities are built on state highways. California cities that build protected bike lanes will have the option of using the standards to be developed by Caltrans or some other generally accepted standards, sparing them from Caltrans’ arduous approval process.

Locals Can Now Pass Vehicle Fees to Build and Maintain Bikeways

S.B. 1183, from Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) allows local jurisdictions in California to propose a small vehicle registration fee (no more than $5) on their local ballot, requiring approval from at least 2/3 of local voters, to fund bike trails and paths on park district land.

Bike trails have suffered from a lack of stable funding sources, unlike roads and highways, which are funded by a combination of fuel and sales taxes. A motor vehicle surcharge could help fund maintenance and improvements for existing paths — thus creating safe, convenient routes for commuters, students, shoppers, and recreational riders.

S.B. 1183 was sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District, which straddles Alameda and Contra Costa counties in Northern California. The park district maintains over 1,200 miles of trails that are open to bicycles, and about 100 miles of paved bicycle paths, some of which are important commute routes for bicyclists.

The park district was looking for a source of funds to help build and maintain the aging paths, and at first proposed a tax on bicycles sold in the two counties. However, administrative complications caused them to change it to a motor vehicle registration fee instead.

  • I offered a few comments in response to people dissing education/training programs that increase the competency of people who would use bicycles – concepts generally termed “vehicular cycling” and “bicycle driving.”

    We are anticipating getting better Bikeway facilities to encourage more, safer, and more effective use of bicycles for transportation. Along with and even in spite of successes with new facilities there should be education, encouragement, and enforcement of appropriate behaviors; Salmoning, Shoaling, unlawful and/or discourteous failures to yield, night riding without lights and reflectors, etc. are not acceptable behaviors for anyone using public roads by bicycle, vehicle or on foot.

  • There are good ideas for facilities and some not so good ideas – context and culture matter. Some facilities work well primarily because the users in that culture/country know how to behave and what to expect; in the countries you are likely referring to the knowledge and skills were taught to all their citizens as children – not so in the US. Introduction of some facility designs not only are likely to confuse Americans but some also encourage behavior/movements that are counter to existing traffic laws – do you care? Shouldn’t the laws correspond to the facility and vice versa?

    AND, please stop confusing the educational programs using the concepts of vehicular cycling with criticism of certain new facility ideas. “Cycling Savvy,” “Bike Ed,” and other programs offer the skills and knowledge that help people use bicycles lawfully, competently, and with an increased degree of safety just about anywhere on any public roadway. That some critics of some new facilities also are supporters of competent, lawful bicycling (that’s what vehicular cycling is about) is not a rational reason to denigrate the concepts of vehicular cycling.

  • In my world if I use a bicycle to get around I will be dealing with people in cars. Unlike bulls, most people seek to avoid colliding with others. I choose to increase my safety and ability to travel by bicycle by riding as part of traffic – as predictably and conspicuously as I can; sometime “in the way” lawfully.
    Are upi seeking a dreamed for world where you and I could get to all our destinations by bicycle without dealing with people using cars, riding in separated in facilities that allow for access everywhere? Great. Dream on. I live in the real world and have learned to ride in a manner that best provides for my movement and safety; in the traffic mix, not at home typing/complaining about it.

  • Lightning strikes happen too. We do our best to get around as safely as reasonable. I have found that limiting my exposure to motorist errors is best done by riding as part of traffic… or I could armor myself in a motor vehicle.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    “There are good ideas for facilities and some not so good ideas – context and culture matter”

    Name one bad idea about a bikeway design that is now used in the Netherlands. I’ve seen dozens of their bikeway designs and I’ve yet to see any in the U.S. that matches or exceeds them. But perhaps I’m missing some detail in a Dutch bikeway design that you can point out that is not a good idea.

    “Some facilities work well primarily because the users in that culture/country know how to behave and what to expect”

    What proof do you have to base that on?

    “Introduction of some facility designs not only are likely to confuse Americans but some also encourage behavior/movements that are counter to existing traffic laws – do you care?”

    Again, what proof do you have of that?

    “”Cycling Savvy,” “Bike Ed,” and other programs offer the skills and knowledge that help people use bicycles lawfully, competently, and with an increased degree of safety just about anywhere on any public roadway.”

    Its your belief that Cycling Savvy is increasing the safety of bicycle riders. That’s great that you have a belief, but don’t force your belief on others by trying to block decades of proven safety improvements that don’t fit within your belief system.

    You seem to be basing your opinions on conjecture and speculation.

    The fact is the Netherlands and Denmark have been refining their bicycle infrastructure designs for decades.

    Those countries that have the lowest rates of cycling injuries also have high numbers of bicycle riders. In virtually all of these countries with high rates of bicycle riders, most of them ride where there are barriers to separate them from motor vehicles.

    One of the five safety principles in the Netherlands is homogeneity of mass, speed and direction. This seems to be counter to your beliefs.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    It seems that in your imaginary world people do not make mistakes when they drive, or that when they do hit you at 40+ mph your aura of invincibility on a bicycle will protect you from great bodily harm. They runs counter to the real world in which countries require car manufacturers to install safety features for occupants such as air bags, seat belts, safety glass, crush zones, safety cells, etc. If its so safe to ride in the middle of a lane that has fast moving motor vehicles, then why are car manufacturers required to install these safety features?

    I’m trying to get safety improvements for bicycling in much the same way that car occupants and pedestrians are afforded them.

    “I live in the real world and have learned to ride in a manner that best provides for my movement and safety; in the traffic mix, not at home typing/complaining about it.”

    I’ve been hit twice from behind by motor vehicles while bicycling in the middle of a motor vehicle lane. Both of these were mistakes on the drivers part (one of whom clearly knew I was there)–which you seem to believe rarely, if ever, happens. This didn’t occur while I was sitting at home where the motor vehicles cannot reach me. Also, by the way, bicycling on roadways has been my main form of transportation for over ten years.

    People are voting with their pedals where they want to ride. Few of them are choosing to buy what you are selling. Its not an idea that is appealing to the masses.

    Even a stripe of a bicycle lane only entices about 7-8% of the adult population to ride there. Streets without those lanes generally have a bicycling mode share of less than 1%. Those that ride in the middle of the motor vehicle lane is a small percentage of that.

    If you could please tell me one city or country in the modern industrialized world where large volumes of people are individually riding regularly in the middle of busy motor vehicle lanes that has fast moving traffic.

    All of the countries and cities with the highest rate of bicycling also are where the bulk of the riders are separated from the motor vehicles. In Tokyo people ride on the sidewalks along busy streets, in Denmark and the Netherlands people mainly ride on cycle tracks or paths next to busy streets.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    I have found that riding where motorists have the least opportunity to hit me reduces the amount of conflicts.

    I grew up in a city that had frequent lightning when it rained. It was common knowledge that you should seek shelter away from where the lightning could hit you.

    Again, separating people from danger is a fundamental principle of industrial safety.

    Not many people get hit while riding in the middle of a motor vehicle lane that has fast moving traffic and its also true that not many people ride there. So, therefore, to you, that proves its safer to ride in the middle of a motor vehicle lane. Using that logic then its also safe to ride a bicycle on the freeway.

  • Ride on; your way. I will ride my way.
    Maybe we can each, in our own ways, help improve conditions for bicycling.

  • I live and transport myself in a real world. A world where people sometimes make mistakes and poor judgments about their and my safety. I and the credible bicycling education programs I know of take into account and help people bicycling to avoid making their own mistakes and to anticipate and avoid the likely mistakes of others. Reducing the likelihood of crashes while increasing the ease and effectiveness of our travels does not result in zero crashes… and the hills don’t flatten either.
    In my world I am able to bicycle NOW to all the destinations within my reach on the facilities available. I have acquired some degree of knowledge and skill enough to deal with sometimes very difficult traffic and roadway conditions fairly successfully (I’ve been doing this more than 50 years). I encourage others to increase their skills.
    I work – as a volunteer advocate – to improve travel facilities to allow and encourage more people to make better (bicycling, walking, transit) transportation choices. Roadways should no longer be designed and operated, by default if not by choice, exclusively for motor vehicle (speedy) travel. People using dangerous equipment/vehicles on public roadways should be held to a high standard of conduct – “zero fatalities” sounds like a good though idealist goal. Seeking full separating of bicycling from public roads is not achievable – not even in Amsterdam and similar cities is this achieved. And, it misses the point that roadway fatalities and danger comes primarily from motorist error.
    – enough musing; ‘going riding.

  • I wish every governor was as sensible as governor Brown and the legislators who created this bill. What a great idea. It sounds like the funding will go for protected bike lanes AND dedicated bike paths. That is wonderful news!! I hope that type of thinking is contagious and moves to other states.

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