Bill Freeing Communities to Build Safer Bikeways Heads to Gov. Brown

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Legislature passed a bill authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, allowing for the adoption of new bikeway designs and easing local bikeway construction.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1193 passed the State Assembly with a 57-15 vote, following a 29-5 vote in the State Senate earlier this week.  The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for final action.

“The state has held cities captive to rigid and outdated bikeway designs, even on locally owned streets and roads,” said Ting.  “By freeing communities to adopt bikeway design innovations like those now taking root in other states, we can make our roads safer for everyone.  Sharing the road is one thing, designing it better is another.”

“By changing our streets, people who want to bike will finally feel safe in doing so and our communities will be healthier and more prosperous because of it,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition.  “This exciting prospect is why we need Governor Brown to sign the bill into law.”

Under current law, California requires all bikeways to conform with the Highway Design Manual (HDM), which prescribes extremely precise size and grade standards.  Any design variation requires an exemption from Caltrans, which is very costly and cumbersome to obtain.  This regulatory environment has impeded the construction of safer cycling infrastructure because some bikeway designs are excluded from the HDM, notably protected bikeways or cycletracks which designate a portion of road for bike travel and separate it with grading, posts or other physical barriers. 

AB 1193 adopts three key reforms to improve local bikeway design and construction.  The bill:

  • Frees communities from having bikeway designs compliant solely with the HDM if designs are based on design standards crafted by a national association of public agency transportation officials;
  • Allows local governments to build protected cycletracks; and
  • Requires Caltrans to develop design standards for cycletracks for inclusion into the HDM by 2016.

According to the Green Lane Project, a protected bike lane increases bike ridership on a street by 75 percent in its first year, and 96 percent of people riding in protected bike lanes feel safer on the street because of the lanes.  Protected bike lanes have been built in 24 states and 53 cities, with 20 cities working on their first right now.  In recent years, San Francisco, Long Beach and Los Angeles have installed cycletracks in an experimental process.

Further information about AB 1193 is available online at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Contacts: Anthony Matthews (Ting), tel. (916) 319-2019, anthony.matthews@asm.ca.gov
                  Dave Snyder (CA Bike Coalition), tel. (916) 251-9433, dave@calbike.com