Casual State Side-by-Side Riding Bill Moves Forward
As Marin schools concluded Bike and Roll to School Week (April 18-22), the California State Assembly passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to encourage more cycling. Ting’s Assembly Bill AB 2509 is also supported by a coalition of cycling advocates, including the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Bike East Bay, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and the Napa County Bicycle Coalition.
The Bill passed 45-27 and now moves to the State Senate for further review. AB 2509 allows cyclists to ride side by side on designated bikeways – bike lanes, bike paths, bike routes, and protected bikeways. The bill also allows cyclists to use the full width of designated bikeways. Current law requires cyclists to ride furthest to the right in bikeways, which places them in jeopardy of run-ins with opening doors on parked cars.
“We need clear laws about where it is safe and reasonable to ride,” said Ting. “Unfortunately, state law undermines cycling in everyday situations. This reform will encourage more people to pursue cycling as a transportation alternative that is good for their health and our environment. Side by side riding is a critical tool for parents to buffer their kids when riding together and they shouldn’t get a ticket for it.”
The vote followed the release of San Francisco’s Annual Bicycle Count for 2015, which found an estimated 82,000 cycling trips daily and that these trips have grown by 184 percent since 2006.
“This bill is really about common sense,” added Ting. “We don’t tell drivers or motorcyclists to use only part of the lane designated for their use. Cyclists should not be treated differently.”
“Riding side-by-side in pairs or in a group makes bicycling more comfortable, enjoyable, and safe, especially for families riding with children or for people who may be new to bicycling,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “Clearly permitting side-by-side riding in the vehicle code will help to promote bicycling by allowing people bicycling to ride and converse with friends and family.”
Further information about AB 2509 is online at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.