2014 Legislative Season Draws to Close

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The legislative session wraps up Friday August 28 with a number of  bills we support expected to be approved and sent to the Governor’s Office for his signature or veto. Most important is the Protected Bikeways Act of 2014 that will encourage better bikeways throughout California. But other bills will impact bicycling in California.

SB 1183 is Senator Mark DeSaulnier’s bill to permit a local agency to levy a vehicle license fee to raise funds to build and maintain trails and other bike infrastructure. It passed the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

AB 1532 and AB 47 are companion attempts by Assemblymember Mike Gatto to stem the epidemic of hit-and-runs in California. AB 1532 requires the DMV to suspend the license of a repeat offender. AB 47 is an innovative measure to improve the odds that police will find perpetrators. It requires the CHP to issue a “Yellow Alert” — like the better known “Amber Alert” fo rmissing persons — when a victim is injured or killed and information about the suspect’s vehicle is known. If the success of the Amber Alert is an indication, the AB 47 “Yellow Alert” will direct the police right to the offending vehicle.

AB 2398 is Assemblymember Marc Levine’s bill to define a “vulnerable road user” in the law and increase fines for hitting and injuring such people. What started as a punishment significant enough to draw attention has been amended twice to remove provisions that would have revoked the license of repeat offenders and put a ‘point’ on the driver’s license of an offender. Still, the bill serves an important purpose of defining a “vulnerable road user” — a bicyclist, pedestrian, skateboarder, or farm equipment driver — so that local governments can rely on that definition in crafting their own stronger ordinances modeled after the popular ordinances in Sonoma County.

SB 1151 would increase the fines for speeding in school zones and direct funds to the tragically underfunded  Active Transportation Program to improve safety around schools. Authored by Anthony Canella, it’s the only bill that will directly increase funding for active transportation in this legislatve session. Other bills we watch include a measure to allow more bike racks on buses and encourage the use of recycled tires for the development of bikeways. For information on all the bills we watch on behalf of bicyclists in California, check out our legislative monitoring page: calbike.org/legislation.

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