CABO opposes SB 1183, tax/fees for bike sales for trails

The California Association of Bicycling Organizations respectfully continues to oppose SB 1183. The April 21 amendments, replacing a sales tax on bicycles with a surcharge on motor vehicle registration, may help reduce the administrative issues associated with collection. But we still have serious concerns with the bill’s restriction of the revenue for “improvements to paved and natural surface trails, including the rehabilitation, restoration, and expansion of existing trails, the development of new trails, and the maintenance and upkeep of local and regional trail systems and networks.”
Although the source of funding no longer involves a bicycle tax, and the bill is no longer titled the “Local Bike Infrastructure Enhancement line 28 Act of 2014,” Legislative Counsel’s digest still describes it as “Vehicle registration fees: surcharge for bicycle infrastructure.” To the extent that park districts may want to improve and maintain unpaved trails, including those for mountain bikes, this is fine. But cities and counties, which would also be authorized to impose the surcharge (subject to two-thirds voter approval), might have less need for unpaved park trails and greater need for paved bicycle infrastructure. To the extent that the surcharge is perceived as a source of bicycle funding, restricting it to “trails” is inappropriate.
The term “trail” has no meaning in the Streets and Highways Code or design standards as a bicycle facility. To the extent that it’s interpreted as an off-road facility (properly known as a “bike path”), this source of funding would encourage local agencies to focus on paths regardless of their suitability, when other types of bicycle improvements might be safer and more efficient. If the funding is to be used for bicycles, it would be better to allow local discretion similar to project eligibility under the Active Transportation Program, which can be found in Streets and Highways Code §2382(e) and could be incorporated by reference.
There is an additional obstacle, in that several courts have held that all paved bike paths are considered recreational trails subject to comprehensive local immunity from liability, regardless of other statutes whose intent was to require that bike path adhere to specified design standards. As a result, bicyclists who have been injured by noncompliant or poorly maintained facilities cannot recover damages, and agencies have no legal incentive to adhere to established engineering standards. These injustices could be remedied simply by amending Government Code §831.4(b) to read “(b) Any trail used for the above purposes that is not a bikeway as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code.” Alternatively, the following sentence could be added to Streets and Highways Code §890.4(a): “A Class I bikeway is not a trail for purposes of Government Code Section 831.4.”
Amendments such as the ones we suggest would make us much more favorably disposed toward the bill.

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous on by .

About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email:

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