Update on AB 1103

Dear AB 1103 supporter,

Thank you for your support.

More organizations have joined in AB 1103 [AKA Bicycles: yielding] support. The supporters I know about are listed below. If you know of others, please let me know.

I’ve now met with the legislative aides for 13 of what had been the 14 Assembly Transportation Committee members. I’ve met with all members’ offices except Chair Frazier. (One member, Raul Bocanegra, resigned last week, so the committee currently has 13 members.) It appears that Frazier along with three others will be “no” votes. There are two “yes” votes. There are seven members who are undecided, so it continues to look like grassroots support from within Assembly Member districts could help sway their ultimate decisions and determine the outcome. Most concerns expressed were about possible safety impacts if the bill passes.

I also met with the Transportation Committee’s legislative analyst in the hopes of her formulating a more balanced review of the bill. While she said she was a cyclist herself, she echoed the safety concerns noted by the AAA, California Police Chiefs Association and CHP — namely that changing the law would make intersection interactions unpredictable and give bicyclists an undue ability to make subjective decisions about safety.

Bill Author Obernolte’s office has advised that, in order to address the opposition, they are working on an amendment to make the bill create a pilot program. They did not share details about duration or location of the pilot. The pilot could decrease opposition and provide data about safety impacts, but means there will more effort required to permanently reform the law at a later date. Final amendments to bills were due Dec. 1.

I originally got involved with this bill because I felt it would improve the scofflaw image that many have of bicyclists and thus lead to more people being willing to try cycling and to more decision-makers being willing to fund bicycle infrastructure.

I have come to believe that simple justice might be an even better rationale for legal reform. It should not be illegal to do something that causes no harm. Bicyclists yielding at stop signs (and not coming to a complete stop) is almost universal because bicyclists know it is safe behavior. Current law is almost never enforced because police know yielding instead of stopping does not harm society. (Yet police still have the power to arbitrarily enforce the law.)

I’ve talked to a rep from the League of California Cities. The rep did not appear inclined to change their opposed position, but I’ll be asking at least the ten largest California cities to support the bill. Locally, the Sacramento Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended the city of Sacramento and Sacramento County support the bill. The city of Davis is considering support. If any of you can ask support from your local jurisdictions, that would be very helpful.

I have not heard back on my requests for meetings with Sacramento Society for the Blind or the California Highway Patrol.

The National Federation of the Blind of Idaho and Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired both said they were not aware of crash problems resulting from Idaho law.

Again, if you’ve got suggestions or ideas about any of this, please let me know. If you can request support from local bike shops and other local businesses or your local city or cities and county, that could be useful, especially if the bill is voted out of committee and reaches the floor of the full Assembly in January.

It looks like the bill will be heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee January 8. Controversy about the bill will probably appear in the media in late December or early January. You might be contacted. CalBike [calbike.org] will be beefing up information about the bill and its impacts on its Website.

The new legislative analysis of the bill will probably be done before Christmas.

Thanks again,

Walt Seifert
Sacramento Trailnet
PO Box 19463
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 455-7561

Organizational support


Bicycle Commuter Coalition Inland Empire
Bike Davis
Bike Bakersfield
Bike Santa Cruz County
California Bicycle Coalition
Chico Velo
Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance
Motherlode Bicycle Coalition
Sacramento Trailnet
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
Sylvia Bingham Fund
Walk Bike Mendocino

Recreational Clubs

Pedali Alpini
Davis Bike Club
Desert Bicycle Club
Different Spokes of Southern California
Fresno Cycling Club
High Desert Cycling
Lompoc Valley Bicycle Club
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club
Imperial Valley Velo Club
Recumbent Riders of Sacramento
Sacramento Wheelmen
San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club
San Jose Bicycle Club
Santa Rosa Cycling Club
Shasta Wheelmen
Solano Cycling Club

Bicycle Industry

Fo Sho Inc. (Carmichael, East Sac, Elk Grove, and Greenhaven bike shops and Folsom Cyclery)
City Bicycle Works-Sacramento
Rex Cycles-Sacramento

Other Supporters

California Delivery Association
Coalition for Clean Air
Public Health Advocates
Two Rivers Cider
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District

Author: Greg Raven

I may be slow, but that’s only because I’m so old and fat.