California Legislative Update: Progress on Bike-Friendly Bills at the Midpoint

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SACRAMENTO, California (May 29, 2024) — May 24th marked the halfway point for Active Transportation Bills in the California Legislature for this year. All bills needed to be voted out of their originating house to continue progressing. Here’s a look at where CalBike-supported bills stand halfway through the 2024 legislative session.

CalBike Priority Bills Moving Forward

2024 Complete Streets Bill (SB 960)

Authored by Senator Scott Wiener, SB 960 has passed the Senate and is now headed to the Assembly. This bill mandates Caltrans to implement safe infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians when repaving a state route that functions as a local street. The 2024 version also includes transit upgrades, a highly welcomed addition. Your support is crucial to ensure legislators recognize the strong backing for this bill. Stay updated on CalBike’s Complete Streets Campaign page.

Safe Vehicles Save Lives Bill (SB 961)

Another part of Senator Wiener’s safer streets package, SB 961, has also passed the Senate and is moving to the Assembly. The bill initially included a requirement for truck side guards to prevent fatal collisions, but this provision was removed due to trucking industry lobbying. However, the requirement for intelligent speed assist (ISA) software in new vehicles starting in 2027 remains, albeit in a modified form that alerts drivers when they exceed speed limits rather than restricting speed. CalBike continues to strongly support this bill as a step toward achieving Vision Zero. We hope the truck side guards provision will return in future legislation.

AB 2290 aims to limit state funding for Class III bikeways (marked with sharrows rather than separated bike lanes) to streets with speed limits under 20 mph and to close loopholes. Photo by Dave Iltis
Quicker and Better Bikeways Bill (AB 2290)

Authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, AB 2290 aims to limit state funding for Class III bikeways (marked with sharrows rather than separated bike lanes) to streets with speed limits under 20 mph and to close loopholes. It also strengthens requirements for creating Complete Streets on projects funded by the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program (SB 1) and establishes a quick-build pilot at Caltrans. Having passed the Assembly, it now faces potential opposition in the Senate.

Additional Supported Bills Advancing

AB 2086 (Schiavo) – Caltrans Accountability and Transparency Bill

This bill, which passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate, aims to increase transparency in Caltrans’ budget spending and enhance a public dashboard for easier access to agency data.

AB 2259 (Boerner) – California Bike Smart Safety Handbook

Passed by the Assembly and now in the Senate, this bill requires the DMV to create a bicycle safety handbook covering laws regulating bicycles and e-bikes.

AB 2583 (Berman) – Lowering Speed in School Zones

This bill proposes a default speed limit of 15 miles per hour in school zones during specific hours. It has passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate.

AB 2669 (Ting) – No Bridge Tolls for People Walking and Biking

This bill, now in the Senate after passing the Assembly, ensures that pedestrians and bicyclists will not pay tolls on California bridges. It makes permanent a temporary measure affecting primarily Bay Area bridges.

SB 689 (Blakespear) – Bike Lanes in Coastal Areas

SB 689, now in the Assembly, simplifies the process of converting motor vehicle lanes into bicycle lanes near the coast by removing traffic study requirements for permits.

SB 1216 (Blakespear) – Prohibiting Class III Bikeways

Passed by the Senate and now in the Assembly, this bill prohibits installing Class III bikeways (sharrows) on streets with speed limits over 30 mph, mirroring a provision in AB 2290.

E-Bikers riding in the Marin Headlands. One bill sets certification standards for e-bike batteries sold in California. Photo by Dave Iltis
SB 1271 (Min) – E-Bike Battery Standards

Passed by the Senate and now in the Assembly, this bill sets certification standards for e-bike batteries sold in California. A provision to clarify e-bike classifications was dropped, but there is hope it will return.

SB 1509 (Stern) – Unsafe Speed Penalties

This bill, which passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly, increases penalties for drivers exceeding speed limits by more than 25 mph on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or less.

Two-Year Bills Now in the Second House

    • AB 6 (Friedman) – Requires regional transportation agencies to prioritize projects contributing to climate goals.
    • AB 73 (Boerner/Friedman) – Legalizes stop-as-yield for cyclists over 18.
    • AB 833 (Rendon) – Requires Caltrans to plan freeway caps to reunite urban communities.
AB 73 (Boerner/Friedman) – Legalizes stop-as-yield for cyclists over 18. Photo by Dave Iltis

Bills That Did Not Survive

  • AB 2535 (Bonta) – No Freeway Expansions for Freight Bill aimed at reducing new freeway capacity to lower GHG emissions, died in committee.
  • AB 2744 – The Bike Lane Protection Act, focused on preventing right-hook accidents, also died in committee. Despite this setback, there is hope it will return for future development.

Stay tuned for further updates on these vital legislative efforts to enhance active transportation in California. Your support and advocacy are crucial as these bills continue to move through the legislative process.

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