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Passing-on-right bill becomes law

Bicyclists traveling slower than the flow of traffic must ride in a bike lane or to the far right on roads without a bike lane. But when approaching a vehicle stopped ahead in the traffic lane, state law requires a bicyclist to pass on the left side in most situations. That requires leaving the bike lane or shoulder and entering the traffic lane, even though passing on the right is often more consistent with where most bicyclists ride and sometimes might even be safer.

Starting next January, bicyclists can legally pass on the right thanks to the governor's signature on a package of technical changes to state law relating to transportation. Among other provisions, the so-called "omnibus" bill authored by the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee amends the California Vehicle Code's provision that allows for passing on the right  under limited circumstances by clarifying that it does not prohibit the use of a bicycle in a bicycle lane or on a shoulder.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition championed the reform, which was named as an action item in the 2009 SF Bicycle Plan.

LA mayor proposes 3-foot passing law

California motorists could be asked to give bicyclists a little more room on the road under legislation being proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with assistance by CBC.

State law requires motorists to give bicyclists an unspecified safe passing distance. Villaraigosa intends to sponsor a bill next year to specify 3 feet as the minimum passing distance. Fourteen other states have similar laws. CBC sponsored a 3-foot passing bill in 2006 but it quickly stalled under opposition from the California Highway Patrol and the state's trucking lobby.

Give me 3Last month Villaraigosa, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and other local advocacy groups, unveiled his "Give Me 3" campaign to promote awareness of safe passing.
Capitol Briefs
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? According to the Auto Club, the percentage of Californians who send and receive text messages while driving doubled since California banned texting behind the wheel early last year. But that didn't keep Assembly Appropriations Committee from voting down Senate Bill 1475, which would have enacted tougher penalties for those who drive while texting or using hand-held cell phones. A call for tougher enforcement of cell phone laws was one of the main takeaways from this month's Distracted Driving Summit hosted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

pedicabLEMONS INTO LEMONADE: The Legislature has approved a bill to allow cities and counties to require driver's licenses for pedicab operators. Concerned about the implications of licensing bicyclists, which is not allowed under current state law, bike advocates successfully pointed out that the California driver's test only covers the operation of motor vehicles, not pedicabs. So the bill awaiting the governor's signature also contains the option of requiring pedicab operators to show proof of completion of a certified bike safety course in lieu of a driver's license.

MORE LEMONADE: Two bills authorizing Amador County and the City of Fresno to develop plans for allowing neighborhood electric vehicles to use streets with speed limits over 35 MPH are headed to the governor. Neither bill would prevent such plans from forcing bicycles and NEVs to share a separate, segregated lane - a type of lane already in use under the Lincoln, Calif., NEV plan - so CBC and other bike advocates pushed through amendments that require both plans to be reviewed by the California Traffic Control Devices Committee within Caltrans. The committee sets statewide standards for traffic signs, signals and other pavement markings such as traffic lanes.

CA sprawlCLEARING THE AIR: Despite an 11th-hour campaign by construction, highway and oil interests to discredit its hearing process, the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously last week to adopt targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 2035. The board acted under SB 375, California's landmark 2008 anti-sprawl legislation that calls for integration of planning for transportation, land use and housing, with the goal of reducing driving distances and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Implementation of SB 375 ultimately will make it easier for more Californians to choose to travel by bicycle, on foot or via public transit.

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) CNN, (above) Treehugger.com

Around the State
Two new Westside groups turn up the heat

A new advocacy group calls America's most glamorous city the missing link in transportation planning on the Westside of Los Angeles. Better Bike BH Wiki says Beverly Hills fails to ensure safe passage to all road users because the city isn't connected to bikeway networks in neighboring communities.

Further to the west, Santa Monica Spoke, a regional chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, seeks full bike access through an office complex being developed there. The development plan includes bikeways that would connect to a neighborhood bikeway network but requires bicyclists to walk their bikes. The group says the provision violates a city land use policy requiring bike access, inasmuch as the policy would seem to imply that bikes are ridden, not walked.

More bike-friendly cities and businesses in CA

Huntington Beach, Menlo Park, Oakland and Santa Clara are among the 18 cities named as Bicycle Friendly Communities this month by the League of American Bicyclists. Each received the Bronze designation (other levels are Silver, Gold and Platinum). Merced was the only California community among 15 to receive an honorable mention. Brentwood and Thousand Oaks both renewed their Bronze designations.

Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, Specialized Bicycles in Morgan Hill, UC Santa Barbara, Wheelhouse Bicycles in Santa Barbara, and KTU+A Planning in San Diego were added this month to the League's roster of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, which includes a total of 13 in California and 198 throughout the nation.

Southland's best traffic reduction programs honored

Caltech's robust rideshare program in Pasadena and a UCLA "bike-u-mentary" on bike commuting are among the 18 Southern California programs honored this month by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Ventura County Transportation Commission and Orange County Transportation Agency.

Metro and its partners recognized Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange county employers that are making the big strides in encouraging ridesharing and bike commuting. Other award recipients include The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles World Airports, White Memorial Medical Center, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Glendale Transportation Management Associates and Warner Center TMO.

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) Better Bike BH Wiki, (middle) gonomad.com, (above) UCLA
National scene
Bike commuting rates hold steady

Defying predictions that many bike commuters would go back to driving after sky-high gas prices fell in 2009, the League of American Bicyclists reports that bike commuting rates in the U.S. held steady at 0.55 percent overall.

Among the 70 largest U.S. cities, bike commuting rates rose 9% from 2008 to 2009. The biggest overall gain - 28% - came from the 39 cities that have not sought the League's Bicycle Friendly Community designation. There was a 1% increase in the 31 BFC cities, where bike commuting rates are already as much as four times greater than in other cities. In San Francisco and Oakland, the two California cities ranked among the nation's top-10 bike commuting cities, the percentage of people riding to work jumped 10% and 18% respectively from 2008 to 2009.

The League's report, just out this week, also explains why census and other survey tools typically undercount the number of people who commute by bicycle.

Rails-to-Trails challenges AAA's call for funding cuts

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is rallying bicycling and walking advocates to challenge AAA's call this summer to redirect federal funding for biking and walking facilities back into the federal highway system.

In an editorial, Don Gagnon, president and CEO of AAA Mid-Atlantic, blamed the $89 billion annual highway fund shortfall on federal investments that have helped build 19,000 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails and sidewalks across the U.S. Instead, Gagnon proposed directing the total amount spent on those projects - less than $1 billion - back into federal highway system. Earlier this year AAA Mid-Atlantic denounced the installation of bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C.

Rails-to-Trails has called on AAA for an explanation and also circulated a petition urging AAA to step back from its position.

Gen Y + cell phones = less driving?

This month a New York Times green transportation blogger floated an intriguing idea: Could the decline in miles driven by the under-30 Generation Y reflect the growing influence of cell phone technology? Congregating physically with the help of a car may not be so important in an age when nearly continual social contact is possible via text messaging and cell phone, writes Jim Motavalli. Greater concern for the environmental costs and financial challenges of driving may also explain the decline in driving and car ownership among Americans under 30.

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) San Francisco Chronicle,  (above) Lendingtree.com
CBC News
CBC receives $30K advocacy grant

The Alliance for Biking & Walking has awarded CBC a $30,000 grant to help fund a full-time executive director's position, one of several capacity-building efforts currently under way at CBC.

CBC has already matched the grant with some $35,000 raised from bike industry leaders including Dahon, SRAM and Planet Bike during the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.

"California has historically been a leader in cycling culture and infrastructure, and one of the states where our movement really needs to be well organized," said Stan Day, president of SRAM. "We're excited to partner with other cycling companies to help re-energize the CBC."

Mobis CEO joins CBC board
Andrea W-K
Andrea White-Kjoss, chief executive officer of Long Beach-based Mobis Transportation Alternatives, is the newest member of CBC Board of Directors. Mobis designs, builds and operates facilities for parking, renting and repairing bicycles under its flagship brand Bikestation, and also helps communities and transit agencies plan multimodal transportation facilities. Fourteen Bikestations operate in California, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year Business Week Magazine named White-Kjoss one of America's most promising social entrepreneurs for 2010. This month the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling Professionals named her its Private Sector Professional of the Year.

"We're honored to be able to welcome someone with Andrea's credentials and record of success to the CBC board," said CBC President Dave Snyder. "I look forward to working with her to bring CBC the same kind of success in promoting bicycling for transportation and recreation."

Workshop to sharpen advocates' campaign skills

CBC President Dave Snyder and Jeremy Grandstaff of the Alliance for Biking & Walking will lead comprehensive training in creating winning campaigns on Oct. 15-17 in Oakland.

Sponsored by the Alliance for Biking & Walking and hosted by Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, the Winning Campaigns Training workshop is based on tried-and-true campaign strategies customized for bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation activists. From the experienced trainers (and each other), participants will learn how to choose the right campaign, craft a winning plan, and carry it to victory. With the confidence and leadership skills you'll develop, you'll be able to help your fellow activists when you return home, and substantially expand the effect of your work.

Sacramento Tweed supports CBC

Sacramento Tweed Ride organizers Rick Houston and his wife 1 Girl, 2 Wheels blogger Erin Houston donated $823 to CBC this month. The couple raffled two road bikes donated by the Bicycle Business in Sacramento at the Tweed Ride held in May. Many thanks for their support and their efforts to promote the joys of bicycling!
Rides & Events
Stateline, NV
Oct. 1-3: Tahoe Trails Conference
Sponsored by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and U.S. Forest Service
San Diego
Oct. 2: Tour de Fat
A benefit for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and San Diego Mountain Biking Association

Oct. 3: World's Greatest Bicycle Parade
A benefit for the Davis Schools Foundation

Oct. 3: Tour de Poway
Oct. 6: International Walk and Bike to School Day

Oct. 9: Bike Through History
Sponsored by the City of Fresno

Oct. 9: Sac Kidical Mass

Los Angeles
Oct. 10: CicLAvia
Sponsors include the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco
Oct. 10: 4th Annual Family Biking Day
Sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Oct. 15-17: Winning Campaigns Training
Sponsored by the Alliance for Biking & Walking and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland
Oct. 16: Valley Girls Ride
A benefit for Camp Sunshine Dreams of Children's Hospital of Central California, Spirit of Woman, and the Central California Blood Center

Oct. 16: Biketoberfest
A benefit for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and Access4Bikes
Oct. 16-17: Bike MS: Bay to Bay Tour
A benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Oct. 16-17: Bike MS: Southern California Ride
A benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

San Luis Obispo
Oct. 23: SLO GranFondo
A benefit for San Luis Obispo ALPHA
Los Angeles
Oct. 23: Tour de Fat
Sponsored by Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.), Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Bicycle Kitchen/La Bicicocina