Advocacy Alert

Support Bicycle Safety, Support SB 1464

Next week, Senate Bill 1464 will be voted on in the California Senate. This bill amends the California Vehicle Code on “overtaking” (passing from behind), specifically as it relates to motorists passing bicyclists, by requiring a minimum distance of 3 feet when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind.

You may remember a similar bill being introduced last year, ultimately vetoed, and misunderstood by Gov. Brown. This version of the bill addresses his concerns and we are confident SB 1464 will gain his support. See a comparison of the two bills here.

The Senate Transportation & Housing Committee voted 8-0 to approve SB 1464 on April 17th. The full Senate will vote on the bill on Thursday, May 24th. The SLO County Bicycle Coalition, along with other advocacy groups across the state, urge you to show your support for such a law which promotes bicycle safety.

SUPPORT SB 1464:

  •  Authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach.
  • Co-sponsored the California Bicycle Coalition, the City of Los Angeles, and Bike Coalitions around the state.

THE LAWS:

  • Require a minimum distance of 3 feet when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind in the same lane.
  • Legalize the current practice of crossing the double yellow centerline, when clear, in order to pass a bicyclist.
  • Set a $220 base fine for a violation that injures a bicyclist (equal to the lowest fine for reckless driving with great bodily injury). For non-injury violations the base fine is $35 (equal to the fine for unsafe passing).

THE REASON:

  • Safety is the #1 barrier to riding a bicycle. Clarifying and enforcing the rules for safe passing can help encourage more people to choose bicycles for transportation.
  • Passing-from-behind collisions are the leading cause of bicyclist fatalities in California.
  • If we show our support, and the Governor signs the bill, California will join 21 other states who have passed similar bills.

Check out this video of a rider in close call. SB 1464 would make motorist behavior like this illegal, and further protect the safety of bicycles who are legally using the roadway.

Click the photo above, click the link here, or call (805) 549-3784 to contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to support SB 1464 and increase the safety of bicycle riders in California. Simply fill out the form to show your support. Below is text you can use in your request to the Senator:

Dear Senator Blakeslee,

I’m a constituent from the 15th District and I’m writing to ask you to vote yes on Senate Bill 1464 (Lowenthal), which will be heard by the Senate in coming days.

Cyclists too often face dangerous conditions on California’s streets due to motorists passing too closely. This type of collision is the leading cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the U.S.

Requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing, we can minimize a leading cause of deadly collisions and help more people feel comfortable about choosing to ride their bikes.

A specified passing distance provides a more objective and easily understood measure of what constitutes “safe” and gives law enforcement and the courts a more objective basis for enforcing California’s safe passing requirement. Most importantly, it helps emphasize a motorist’s special responsibility to safeguard more vulnerable road users like bicyclists.

Once again, I would like to ask that you vote yes on Senate Bill 1464. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Next week’s conversation is amongst Senators only – they won’t hear any outside testimony from organizations like the CA Bicycle Coalition. But Senators listen to their constituents. That’s why it’s so important for you to contact your Senator today!

Advocacy Alert

City of SLO Circulation Update: More Bicycles!

The City of San Luis Obispo is in the process of updating the Land Use and Circulation element of the City’s General Plan. These parts of the plan relate specifically to creating a guide for future development, preservation and mobility (how we get around) San Luis Obispo.

This Land Use and Circulation update is part of the City’s General Plan, the blueprint for the future. It is representative of the values and vision of the community, and your opinion matters.

Our local governments know we people are interested in more bicycle connectivity in SLO and beyond, but they might not know that a majority of people want these improvements. This is your chance to have your voice heard and help increase the number of bikeways locally.

Wednesday May 16th is the first public workshop for this update, and you are invited to attend and speak up on behalf of better bikeways in San Luis Obispo. The Bicycle Coalition will be there, on behalf of our 600 members, to share our vision for better bicycle facilities in the city.

If you can’t attend the workshop, we’d encourage you to take their online survey to share your support for bicycles in the city. All responses are anonymous, and can have a large impact on the update of the plan. Take the survey here.

When: Wednesday May 16th, 6:30 pm
Where: The Monday Club, 1815 Monterey St, SLO (map)
Why: Help shape the vision of connectivity in San Luis Obispo

83% of Americans Support Federal Funding for Biking

A recent report from our national partners at America Bikes found that 83% of all respondents support maintaining or increasing the federal funding streams that pay for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths.

We know this is true, we see it everyday, with increasing ridership both locally, and nationally. Americans want active transportation options, a way to get around their communities safely, and while being active. The threat to eliminating funding for biking and walking is real, and would roll back the options in our transportation system back into the 1950s.

More and more Americans are turning to biking for transportation on a daily basis. In 2009, Americans took 4 billion bike trips, and the number of bicycle commuters has grown 43% since 2000.

One of the most noticeable parts of the report, is that support for biking and walking funding is bi-partisan, is not related to geography, and is strong across all age groups. In a time where biking trips are rapidly increasing, it is a mistake to put the safety of road users at risk by eliminating funding.

…Many lawmakers have zeroed in on eliminating funding for biking and walking as a wishful solution to our country’s fiscal woes, though cutting these critical but small programs has virtually no impact on the federal deficit. Currently, only 1.5% of federal transportation spending funds sidewalks and bikeways.

If you want to continue to see better bikeways and bike paths locally, support our Connect SLO County initiative, aimed at completing our bike paths. We are dedicated to making sure people of all ages can get around by bicycle, and are your voice for bicycles in SLO County and beyond!

You can view the entire report from America Bikes online here.

Cycle de Mayo this Saturday!

Practice your bike handling skills at this kid-friendly Bike Rodeo. We’ll be there teaching basic bike smarts, and having a blast riding our bikes together in Morro Bay! This is a great chance for Morro Bay kids & families to get together, ride bikes and show your support for bicycles in SLO County.

All SLO County youth can join us by the coast for the FREE bike safety rodeo on the Morro Bay High School track.

When: Saturday May 5th
Where: Morro Bay High School Track (map)
When: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Brought to you by: SLO County Health, SLO County Bicycle Coalition, Rideshare and Central Coast Montessori School

July 2012.

Kidical Mass This Thursday!



Join us for the first Kidical Mass of 2012, just in time for the beginning of Bike Month!

When: Thursday May 3rd
Where: Mitchell Park, SLO (map)
When: 6:00 pm
Theme: Rainbows

We’re excited for our third year of Kidical Mass rides, and hope you*, your friends, and your entire family will join us for the ride! We meet at 6:00 for a brief safety talk before we ride as a group through downtown to the Mission Plaza.

If you’re a kid at heart, and want to be a part of the ride, it’s a great chance to volunteer and help get the little riders excited about their bicycles. Sign up to volunteer here, it’s only a 30-minute commitment, and is a blast!

*Everyone on the ride should be on a bicycle, including parents and guardians (walking in the street alongside is not permitted).

Safe Routes to School Grants Available!

SLO County Regional Rideshare just unveiled their new grant program for Safe Routes to School.  Beginning in the 2012/13 school year, there will be three levels of funding available:

  • Gold $700 – monthly programs throughout the entire school year
  • Silver $300 – 2 – 4 programs throughout the school year
  • Bronze $100 – for 1 program during the school year

If you are interested in bringing some of these funds to you school, or in increasing the number of students biking & walking to school, visit our local Safe Routes to School site to make it a reality! Whether you want to host a onetime event or kick off a year long program, Rideshare has the funds to help get you rolling.

We all know the benefits of getting more kids biking & walking to school. Safe Routes to School is dedicated to making sure more kids are able to use active transportation to get to school, it’s better for their health, helps them focus at school, and provides them with a great chance to get to know their friends and neighborhoods en route!

Advocacy Alert

LOVR Bikepath Approved

We’re pleased to report that, on Tuesday April 10th, the SLO City Council voted 4-to-1 to approve the LOVR bikepath, connecting the CL Smith and Laguna Middle School neighborhoods with a safe route to school for all kids.

The Bicycle Coalition was there to advocate on behalf of this project, which aims to get more kids biking/walking to school, decrease congestion at these intersections during before/after school hours, and to discourage kids from biking the wrong way in the LOVR bike lanes.


This is an alternative plan approved by the city (using a $800,000 Safe Routes to School grant from 2007) after the small Windermere Condominiums Homeowners Association blocked a much better and safer bridge option off of Los Osos Valley Road.

The Bicycle Coalition knows this would have been a much better option, allowing kids to travel between these two neighborhoods without ever going on Los Osos Valley Road. Yet the bylaws of the Windermere Condominiums HOA required 100% approval to proceed with the 4 foot easement for the bike path, making it possible for just one person to oppose the project and shut it down.

We strongly support bicycle and pedestrian projects which provide safe access to schools for generations to come, and are disappointed when a small minority of community members are able to shut these projects down, simply because they don’t understand the long-lasting positive impacts they have.

Our presence here is not without some frustration and concern that future projects promising extremely effective solutions will be cast aside for less attractive alternatives because some community members are unwilling to recognize the incredible value of smart infrastructure.

I urge [the council] to continue to approach these infrastructure decision points with a bold and knowing attitude that improving access to active transportation has powerful health, safety and economic benefits for all of our community members.

Dan Rivoire, Executive Director, SLO County Bicycle Coalition
Speaking at the April 10, 2012 SLO City Council

This is just one of many instances where the Bicycle Coalition represents YOU as we continue to advocate for smart bicycle infrastructure, educate bicycle riders throughout the county, teach bicycle safety assemblies at local schools, and provide everyone with programs to encourage people of all types to choose a bicycle for transportation and recreation. 

BECOME A MEMBER to support these causes in your community.

Advocacy Alert

LOVR Bikepath to City Council

Join us on Tuesday, April 10th, 7:00 pm
San Luis Obispo City Hall, 990 Palm St, to show your support!

click to view map

This bikepath project has been carefully thought out by City staff after a proposed bike/ped bridge connecting the Laguna & Oceanaire neighborhoods was shut down by a small group of neighbors failing to see the value in a safe route to the Laguna Middle School. The bikepath is important to improve visibility and safety of kids biking and walking to school between these two neighborhoods.

By giving kids a safe route to school without having to cross Los Osos Valley Road, we can help ease traffic congestion near the school, give our kids a safe and healthy way to get to school, and decrease accidents at this busy intersection.

The City of SLO has put together this helpful graphic to see the existing and proposed changes to allow for this important connection between two school neighborhoods:

click to enlarge

One of the main benefits this path will provide is increased visibility for the students biking and walking to schools in this neighborhood. As LOVR is a heavily used road for recreational riders, the bike lanes have been kept on the road for them to use without conflicting with the hundreds of kids using the path at peak hours.

Join the Coalition as we speak up to make sure kids are able to safely get to school by foot or bike between these two neighborhoods. Tuesday, April 10th, 7:00 pm at San Luis Obispo City Hall, 990 Palm St.

Spread the word!