Updates on State Bills Legislative Roundup Spring 2023

The legislature is in session in Sacramento. Read our Spring 2023 Legistlative Roundup to see the bills we’re excited to support, and one we’re cautiously watching…

Mid-year Legislative Roudup

Bicycle Safety Stop – SB 73 (Boener Horvath)

The bicycle safety stop (or “stop as yield”) is back. Despite popular support and substantial evidence showing that allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as “yields” is safe, Governor Newsom has repeatedly threatened to veto the bill. In response to prior concerns, the “safety stop” would only apply to riders over the age of 18.

MCBC Position: Support

The Impact of Heavy Cars – AB 251 (Ward & Friedman)

Automobiles have been getting heavier and heavier in the last several decades. A 1990 Honda Civic weighed just over 2,000 lbs. The battery alone for the 2023 electric F-150 Lighting weighs 2,000 lbs., with the whole vehicle coming in at two and half tons. This has significant impacts to our transportation, both for wear and tear of our streets, and increased danger to people walking or bicycling. In a recent study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that SUVs are 55% more dangerous for bicyclists than lighter cars with lower hoods. This bill would require the California Transportation Commission to study and report back on the costs of heavy vehicles on our transportation system, with an eye toward scaling registration fees based on weight. 

MCBC Position: Support

Automated Ticketing of Bike Lane Blockers – AB 361 (Ward)

Painted bike lanes are all-too-often used as standing zones for delivery drivers, people picking up a passenger, or ride-hailing vehicles. This bill would authorize public agencies to install forward facing cameras on publicly-owned parking enforcement vehicles for the purpose of ticketing drivers who block the bicycle lane. 

MCBC Position: Support

Increasing Visibility of Crosswalks AB 413 (Lee)

A large threat to pedestrians is visibility at crosswalks. Many states prohibit cars from parking closer than 15’ or 20’ from a crosswalk. California, however, allows drivers to park all the way up to the crosswalk line, reducing visibility both for pedestrians and drivers. This issue is particularly acute for people using wheelchairs, pushing baby strollers, or jogging. This bill would require drivers to park at least 20 feet from crosswalks, increasing visibility and safety for all.

MCBC Position: Support

Automated Speed Cameras – AB 645 (Friedman) 

Legislative Round Up Spring 2023

Automated speed enforcement is a technology used to great effect in many cities and countries. New York City has seen significant reductions in speeding and injury crashes in the zones where speed cameras have been installed. This bill would authorize a six-city pilot program of speed cameras (SF, LA, Oakland, San Jose, Glendale, and Long Beach) to explore the technology. Advocates see the bill as a way to reduce speeding while decreasing motorist interactions with armed law enforcement. Fines would scale with speed, and low-income drivers would pay a reduced rate.

MCBC Position: Support

Decriminalizing Sidewalk Riding – AB 825 (Bryant) 

Whether riding on the sidewalk is permitted or prohibited varies from city to city, with different rules between neighboring municipalities. While sidewalk riding is certainly not recommended in all circumstances, many riders feel it is their best option if traveling along a busy road with no bike lanes. AB 825 would allow bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk under the following conditions: (1) there are no adjacent bike lanes, (2) they yield to pedestrians, and (3) they travel no faster than 10 miles per hour.

MCBC Position: Support

Unbundling Parking from Rent – AB 1317 (Carrillo)

While most apartments built after the 1950s have their own dedicated parking spaces, not everyone owns a car. In fact, 5% of Marin’s households have no car available, and another 10% of households have fewer cars than employed people. However, people who rent apartments typically have to pay for their off-street parking spot, whether or not they use it. This bill would compel landlords to “un-bundle” the parking, i.e. allow tenants to pay for it separately from their rent. This would reduce the rent for car-free or car-light households, and free up additional spots for larger households with more cars than they have parking spots.

MCBC Position: Support

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge – AB 1464 (Connolly)

This bill is something of a quandary. Former County Supervisor, now Assemblymember Damon Connolly has made his opposition to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike/pedestrian pathway very clear, and advocates replacing it during weekday mornings with a third car lane. In talking about this bill at the April 17th Transportation Committee hearing, he made it sound as though this bill would do that, but it does not (because the legislature is, happily, not empowered to legislate projects into existence). Rather, the bill requires that MTC and Caltrans “consider” adding a third lane to the westbound deck, and in doing so add another moveable barrier to the lower deck to maintain bicycle/pedestrian access. 

While we are happy to see this nod to the importance of maintaining access between Richmond and Marin for people traveling outside of cars, we’ve also spent the last five years listening to people talk about how expensive the barrier on the upper deck was, and suspect that would be the first thing to get cut if funding gets tight. We’re keeping an eye on this bill, but don’t expect that it will result in any substantial change. 

MCBC Position: Watch

Ending Pretextual Stops – SB 50 (Bradford)

Much of discriminatory policing is carried out through a practice known as a “pretextual stop.” Motorists or bicyclists are stopped for minor violations of the vehicle code, which is in reality a pretext to permit the officer to search or otherwise detain the person. This bill would prohibit law enforcement from stopping bicyclists simply because their bicycle is not properly fitted with a lamp and reflectors or because a rider thought to be under 18 is not wearing a helmet. Other moving violations prohibited by the vehicle code would still permit a stop by law enforcement.  

MCBC Position: Support

Ending Bike Bans in Apartments – SB 712 (Portantino)

Apartment landlords occasionally prohibit tenants from bringing bicycles, e-bikes, or scooters into their apartments. This has the effect of preventing people from commuting or traveling via low-cost, low-emissions vehicles if they are forced to store them outside where they may be subject to theft. This bill would prohibit landlords from banning personal mobility devices from being stored in apartments unless they already offer secure, long-term storage elsewhere in the building. 

MCBC Position: Support

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