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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!

The Capitol Building

Look closely, those are two people riding some Capital Bikeshare bikes here on the Hill.

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We were finally able to get outside for the first time today and see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, making for a beautiful day in DC. We can’t wait to get out to the national mall and see more of them from the Bikeshare bikes ourselves!

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More From Capitol Hill

We just wrapped up our day on Capitol Hill, and were able to meet with staffers from both Rep Capps’ and Rep McCarthy’s office, our elected officials from SLO County!

In Lois Capps office with our neighbors from Santa Barbara County

In Kevin McCarthy’s office with his transportation staffer, Rob McCarthy

All of the California delegation almost all posing for a photo! We’ve got people from all across the state, and sat together to make sure we could meet with every representative in the California legislature.

For now, we’re off for a much needed bite to eat, it’s been a long day of meetings all over the hill, and a slice of pizza is in order. We’ll provide a more detailed update of our day on the hill tomorrow.

From Capitol Hill

Today is off to a great start! With meetings scheduled with Sen Boxer & Rep Capps’ offices, we’re excited to share the benefits that biking & walking will provide for our future!

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In between these meetings we’ve been dropping in to chat with other elected officials, on behalf of those who couldn’t make it out to DC to join us. Our message is concise and extremely relevant, as the federal transportation bill is on the top of everyone’s mind.

House leadership proposed a 3 month extension this morning and it has been the buzz on Capitol Hill in the hallways. This timing allows the conversation to run parallel to what’s being discussed in the House of Representatives today.

Have we mentioned how much everyone loves the bike pins we’re all wearing?!

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Here we are before our meeting with Capps’ office with our fellow advocates and neighbors from Santa Barbara:

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Stay tuned for some better photos later today when we have time to upload them from a computer!

Getting Prepped

Going over our last minute details & fueling up in the Rayburn House Office Building before we start our day of meetings of leaders throughout CA!

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Fancy Pants

We dress to impress here in DC.

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After a day of advocacy strategy meetings with others from California and beyond, we’re prepping for our meetings with elected officials tomorrow.

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Off to dinner first, then more prep for tomorrows meetings! Wish us luck!

Importance of Safe Routes to School

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The founder and champion of Safe Routes to School, Deb Hubsmith, shares some astounding statistics about kids biking & walking to school.

In 2005, the medical costs of treatment for kid’s biking & walking injuries, including fatalities, totalled $839 MILLION – 4.5 times what we annually spend on Safe Routes to School

10-14% of ALL road traffic is made of kids being driven to school

Only 13% of kids ages 5 to 14 walk or bike to school. In 1960 this number was over 50%

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One of the BIG reasons we’re in Washington DC is to fight to SAVE Safe Routes to School funding. We KNOW it’s important for our children to safely get to/from school for years to come!

Notes from Day Two

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This morning we heard from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood about the future of bicycling in America. It was early morning east coast time, even earlier if you take ito account the time change, yet LaHood was able to offer some inspiring words before we take to Capitol Hill tomorrow and meet with our elected officials.

A good transportation bill, is a good jobs bill.

Our goal here in DC is to ask for continued, dedicated funding for biking & walking, LaHood is right there with us:

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Read more about his words this morning on his own site here.

We’ll have more updates from the rest of the day soon enough! Twitter has been the place where a lot of acivity is happening here at the Bike Summit, follow us on there to see updates we’re sharing from other groups too.