Some people have said they’re confused by our opposition. Maybe this will help?
The California Association of Bicycling Organizations opposes AB 1193 (Ting) as passed by the Legislature for the following reasons.
· We are frustrated with the lack of movement by Caltrans to better provide safety for bicycling. (The number of annual roadway fatalities of bicyclists has been rising while the total number of all roadway fatalities has fallen!) This frustration fostered the California Bicycle Coalition to promote the bill against our advice.
· Much of the frustration comes from Caltrans’ failure to appropriately follow the Legislatures intent for AB 819 (Wiekowski, 2012) for starting a process for permitting local governments design exceptions for experimenting with new ideas for better Bikeways. The intent of AB 819 is to to allow for creative and innovative design improvements, to collect valuable data for evaluating them and eventually incorporating them into standards, and to relieve local agencies of the threat of liability for their experimentation. This process needs to be strengthened, not abandoned, so that agencies can be encouraged to help Caltrans update bikeway standards by evidence-based review.
· AB 1193 does conflicting things;
1) it requires Caltrans to establish Class IV, Cycletracks standards – a good thing – but at the same time it would allow local governments to ignore State standards.
2) it allows Caltrans to side-step its mandated oversight role for Bikeway standards
3) it allows Caltrans to ignore AB 819 leaving local governments no process or encouragement of experimenting with Highway Design Manual Bikeway designs. We want better designs, but not unsafe ones and not with each city doing their own thing – inconsistency leads to confusion – confusion contributes to collisions and deaths.
· A hidden intent of the bill’s proponents is for wholesale adoption/use of an upstart coalition, referred to as NACTO, to provide acceptable bikeway safety design guidance. NACTO, the brand new National Assoc. of City Transportation Officials is a popular movement of new-urbanism. Their evolving guide, an “Urban Bikeway Design Guide”, provides exciting cutting edge encouragement but little guidance for safety standards, and some designs encourage traffic movements that are illegal per our California Vehicle Code. Although their Guide is endorsed by many groups – including Caltrans – it is endorsed ONLY for its innovative ideas, not as providing necessary and reliable safety design standards!
We support encouraging the use in California of appropriate new bikeway ideas, we assert that bikeway minimum safety design guidance should apply equally statewide – there should not be potentially confusing differences in bikeway types between cities or counties. We also are fearful that agencies would, on their own, mistakenly construct incompletely thought-out facilities that could create hazards for people bicycling and other road users.
Although the name of the newly defined type of facility has been changed from “protected bike lane” to “cycle track,” the misleading term “protected bikeway” remains at 3:8, 3:11, 3:21, 4:24, and 5:8.
CABO would support an effort to implement AB 1193’s original purpose, defining cycle tracks and requiring Caltrans to establish standards for them. Otherwise, we urge you to oppose it.