Legislation & Policies

LOCAL

Anti-harassment Ordinance:
SVBC supports cities within San Mateo County and Santa Clara County, as well as the counties themselves to cover unincorporated areas, to pass anti-harassment ordinances in order to create more awareness and change behavior to ensure increased safety for people who bike. Local examples can be found in the City of Sunnyvale, Berkeley and Sebastopol. The anti-harassment ordinance, most often adopted by cities, is focused on intentional threats, assaults or other behavior that endangers cyclists. Normally, an anti-harassment ordinance will make the harassment and assault of a person who bikes a civil offense, in addition to a criminal offense. The burden of proof is lower for civil cases thus making it easier for people who bike to be properly compensated. Typically, this allows an injured or harassed bicyclist to seek treble damages (triple the amount of actual damages) and attorney’s fees in civil court.

Complete streets policy:
SVBC supports Complete Streets policies, which aim to provide safe mobility for all road users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit users of all ages and abilities. The State of California passed the California Complete Streets Act in 2011 to require cities and counties that were revising the circulation element of their general plan to include complete streets considerations. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission also requires all cities in the Bay Area, including those in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to adopt Complete Streets resolutions in order to qualify for certain types of funding.

Street space allocation policy:
SVBC supports the passage of street space allocation policies, as exemplified by the City of Sunnyvale, in the many jurisdictions through Silicon Valley. In many cities, there may be adequate street space to improve bicycle facilities, but that space is currently being reserved for parked cars. In some cases, the parking is used but in many other cases, the on-street parking is underutilized. Sunnyvale has passed a policy to address this, the Street Space Allocation Policy, which states that city streets should be prioritized for the movement of all vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians and that parking is not a transport use, but the storage of transport vehicles. Therefore, providing street space for parking is less important than providing it for all transport uses. To support this, a city can conduct parking analyses that show actual parking usage on different streets. This policy is a tool for cities to implement their Complete Streets policy.


REGIONAL

Open Space Authority of Santa Clara Valley Measure Q endorsement
SVBC has endorsed the local ballot measure for open space preservation, Measure Q, put forth by the Open Space Authority of Santa Clara Valley. This measure will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot. The proposed funding measure would fund 26 proposed projects in urban areas and within the Conservation Focus Areas, including trail connections such as completion of the San Francisco Bay Trail, Penitencia Creek Trail, Coyote Creek Trail, Guadalupe River Trail, and a new San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail through Campbell and Santa Clara. This helps SVBC further our goal to fill gaps in existing bike networks, which will encourage more people to choose bikes for transportation and recreation.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District ballot measure endorsement
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition endorsed the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District ballot measure, that was passed in June 2014, for the following reasons:

  1. We support linking open-spaces, parks and communities through bicycle connections
  2. The endorsement will strengthen our relationship with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to continue their engagement in more urban settings and providing bicycle links to preserves.
  3. The measure establishes an independent oversight committee, which will oversee expenditure of the funds.

STATE LEGISLATION

Bill Number
Bill Name
Protected Bikeways
Description
AB 1193 would amend Section 890.4 and 890.6 of the Streets & Highways Code to create a new class of bikeway – cycle tracks or protected bikeways – and require Caltrans to develop safety standards for such bikeways. It also would permit cities and counties to use the best available guidance for bikeways on local streets and roads by removing the requirement in Section 891 to conform to the outdated guidelines in Caltrans Highway Design Manual.
SVBC Support Info
Vulnerable Roadway Users
This statewide bill will increase penalties for drivers who hit or injure people who bike, walk, run, skateboard, ride horses, or work on California streets by raising the fine for hitting a Vulnerable Road User and assigning a point on the motorist’s driver’s license.
Hit and run bill
Currently, drivers are only punished when a hit-and-run results in death, serious injury or property damage but not when it results in less serious injuries. This bill would close this loophole with a 6-month license suspension following a hit-and-run that involves injuries and clearly send the message that if you a hit a person with your vehicle, then you must stop and if you don’t, you will lose your license.
Yellow Alert
This bill would create a “Yellow Alert” to notify the public when a hit and run resulting in a death or serious bodily injury has occurred and provide information about the vehicle or suspect involved, increasing the chance that the motorist who demonstrates reckless disregard for human life will be brought to justice.
Vehicles: bicycles: passing distance
This bill was passed into law on September 23, 2013 and goes into effect on September 16, 2014. It requires motorists to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing from behind. A violation will result in fines.

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Bill Number
Bill Name
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act
Description
Set a national target for decreasing bicycle and pedestrian fatalities
Position
Support
Safe Streets Act
Safe Streets Act
Create a federal complete streets policy so that all modes of transportation must be considered when designing roadways (California already has a similar policy)
Support
New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act
Allocate funds from an existing loan program specifically for bike and ped projects.
Support