Governor Brown Signs Bill Allowing 3-Bike Racks on Longer Buses in CA

Under a new law California law, transit agencies are now allowed greater use of racks that carry three bikes, like this one on L.A. Metro’s Orange Line BRT. Photo by Ensie via Flickr

California transit agencies are now allowed greater use of bus-mounted bike racks that hold three bicycles. Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 2707 Tuesday, a bill authored Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) to allow 40-foot-long buses to be equipped with folding bike racks that can carry up to three bikes.

It was the first bill signed by the governor this year that’s on Streetsblog’s unofficial watch list of bills related to sustainable transportation.

Current law restricts the length of vehicles equipped with bike racks on California roads to a maximum length of 40 feet. An exception was created for AC Transit in the Bay Area, after legislation was passed several years ago to allow the agency to exceed the length limit when it added three-bike racks to the front of its buses.

Another bill in the most recent legislative session was aimed at creating a similar exception for Santa Cruz, but it was dropped when L.A. Metro came forward with A.B. 2707 to change the law throughout the state. Metro will soon receive a large order of 40-foot buses, and thanks to the new law, will be able to expand its bike-carrying capacity on the majority of its fleet.

“It’s a major, major gain. I’m terrifically happy this made it through the system,” said Bart Reed of the Transit Coalition, which had been pushing local legislators to address the issue since 2012“If a bus only comes by every half hour, then there’s only space for four bikes every hour. People were being left stranded. This bill will enhance capacity by another half.”

A sticking point in 2012 was pushback from operator unions, who wanted a say in when and how the longer bike racks are used. Until now, exceptions to the 40-foot rule have allowed three-bike racks on buses up to 60 feet long, but only after approval from a Route Review Committee that must include representatives of the transit agency, the driver’s union, and an engineer.

“The Route Review Committee is required to convene and unanimously approve every route for triple bike racks,” said Michael Turner of Metro. “Our concern is that we have over 100 bus routes, with over 2,000 buses in service. We want to work with our operators, but it’s not good policy to give them veto authority; it’s also not practical, given the size of our operations.”

Since Metro the Route Review Committee requirement has only been applied to 45- and 60-foot buses, the agency has thus far focused on placing three-bike racks on the 40-foot buses that make up a large part of their fleet.

“Bike use has been growing, and we’ve seen more demand, especially on our rail system,” said Turner.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update

|
Here’s Streetsblog’s weekly highlight of legislation and events related to sustainable transportation moving through the legislative process in Sacramento. Bike Racks on Buses: A.B. 2707, Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), would allow transit agencies to install racks that can carry three bikes on the front of buses. Why does this require legislation? Current law limits the […]

California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update

|
Here’s Streetsblog’s compilation of California legislative news for this week. Money, money, money: The legislature was focused on discussing the budget, which must be passed by Sunday at midnight for legislators to avoid having their pay docked. Bills that passed from one house to the other before last week’s deadline are in the midst of […]

California Legislation Watch: Weekly Update

|
Here is Streetsblog’s weekly highlight of California legislation related to sustainable transportation. Today was the last day to amend bills for this legislative session. Any bill that doesn’t get passed by midnight next Sunday, August 31, will be officially dead. Among the flurry of votes, the following bills passed out of both the Assembly and […]

Bike Repair Racks and Other Ways to Make SoCal More Bike Friendly

|
David Murphy is President of Angelenos Against Gridlock (http://www.endinggridlock.org, Twitter: @EndingGridlock).  Lately, thanks to years of hard work by groups like the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and an increasing cadre of bike-friendly elected officials and staffers, it seems like SoCal is edging towards being a more bike-friendly place. But there’s still much to be done as we work towards this extremely […]

CA Sen. Steinberg Proposes New Spending Plan for Cap-and-Trade Revenue

|
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) announced a proposed plan to create a permanent spending strategy for cap-and-trade revenue [PDF] that prioritizes investments in affordable transit-oriented housing, transit expansion, and CA high-speed rail. Unlike the Governor’s plan for this year’s budget, Senate Bill 1156 also proposes investments in “complete streets” and transit operations. Calling the […]