Governor's budget makes big changes to bike funding in California. Make sure they're good.

Brown's 2013-2014 budget proposal is risky for the future of bicycling. It consolidates a number of current bike and ped funding sources into one ambiguous "Active Transportation Program." Is this a step forward -- an efficient way to get more bang for the few measly bucks we're spending on bike infrastructure? Or a step back? 
We are working to shape the new program into a positive one for bicycling, with the demands on this petition. Please sign it today! Deadline is Jan. 28.
Our 2013 Legislative Agenda
Updating CEQA
Around the State
Bike Lanes Pay Off
Your donation of $100 will help send a bike advocate to D.C. for the National Bike Summit. All donations support our strategic agenda: to triple bicycling in California by increasing funding for infrastructure. Your dollars multiply into millions for better biking. Give today.
CalBike Policy Council Kicks Off 2013 Legislative Agenda  
On January 15th, representatives from CalBike's affiliate organizations around the state met at CalBike's first Policy Council to discuss statewide policy and our legislative agenda for 2013. A new advisory body, the Policy Council will provide our board and staff a direct line of communication between the local affiliate coalitions and the statewide organization. CalBike's advocacy in Sacramento is becoming more representative and united, making us all stronger.

The first Policy Council set an ambitious agenda, discussing new CalBike affiliate board members, the future of state funding for bicycling in the newly formed Active Transportation Program, and a 2013 statewide legislative agenda.
2013 Legislative Agenda
The biggest item for the first meeting of the 2013 Policy Council was providing input on the 2013 legislative agenda. The legislative agenda for 2013 approved by the Policy Council is:
  • CEQA Update - improve upon the CEQA exemption created with the passage of AB 2245.
  • Design Guideline Reform - allow more progressive bikeway designs, both through the experimentation process created through AB 819 and through reform of the Traffic Code, while ensuring all jurisdictions apply high standards of safety.
  • Hit & Run Reform - support efforts to reform penalties and statutes of limitations for hit & run drivers.
  • Protect the definition of "bicycle" in the vehicle code - prohibit scooters from using bike paths.
  • Support reductions in the threshold for transportation sales taxes - no longer should 66.65 percent support equal rejection!
Affiliate Board Membership
One of the most exciting results of the affiliate agreement between the eleven largest bicycle coalitions and CalBike is the opening of the CalBike board to at least three affiliate members to represent their priorities on our board. The Policy Council discussed how the affiliate board members should be apportioned among the state's regions and local coalitions and appointed a nominating committee to find the best candidates. Interested in representing your local coalition on CalBike's Board of Directors? Contact the nominating committee at

Active Transportation Program
Another topic before the Policy Council was the state's consolidation of many programs that historically funded bicycling into a new account: the Active Transportation Program. The consolidation gives us a huge opportunity to transform the way bicycle projects are funded to better facilitate our main strategy of constructing complete, community-wide bicycle networks that serve all users. The Policy Council provided important feedback on the initial proposals in our current draft policy outline. Leave your own comments. Comments will be accepted until Friday, February 8th.
Updating the California Environmental Quality Act

If you're a transportation official and you want to convert a lane to a bus-only lane to speed up transit service, you must first comply with the 40-year old review requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act to make sure that you won't cause congestion that could damage the environment. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of that transit lane, or if you want to convert a bike lane to a mixed-traffic lane to move more cars, environmental review is not required.

This backwards situation was written into law when idling cars created ozone "hot spots" in cities and before the concept of induced demand ("you build it and they will come") was fully understood. Today, with almost every car equipped with pollution control equipment that eliminates ozone hot spots and with a new urgency to reduce vehicle miles traveled, it's time to update the statute.

That's the message we gave at a conference sponsored by the Planning & Conservation League in Davis January 12. The conference kicked off what will be an intense effort this legislative session to defend the Environmental Quality Act against attempts to weaken it and to update it to reflect modern environmental science. Our proposal is really simple, as it strikes just four words from the Public Resources Code section 21080.19: "This division does not apply to a project for restriping of streets or highways to relieve traffic congestion."

SANTA MONICA GOES GREEN: The City of Santa Monica recently striped green bike lanes along 0.6
 miles of Ocean Boulevard as part of a larger streetscape project meant to improve the safety and livability of this key bicycle and pedestrian route.  Local bike coalition SM Spoke calls Ocean Boulevard "the longest complete green street in Santa Monica and one of the longest in the state". The project has transformed a previously auto-centric corridor into one that is welcoming to all modes of transportation.

The bike lanes on Ocean Boulevard links up with much of the city's burgeoning bike network.  The project also widened sidewalks, installed more street trees and pedestrian-scale lighting, more (and safer) crosswalks, and bioswale stormwater management.  This complete street could serve as a model for retrofitting other streets across Santa Monica and even across Southern California.  You can read more at SM Spoke or take a look at their great photos


LOS ANGELES LEADS ON AB 2245: The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is shaking their old reputation as unresponsive to bicyclists. In 2011, the City adopted a new and ambitious bike plan  that called for over 1,600 miles of bicycle network infrastructure. Last year, the City reaffirmed their commitment to the new bike plan by installing an astonishing 76 miles of bikeways , including 51 miles of on-street bike lanes. Already this year, Los Angeles is the  first to take advantage of AB 2245, the new CEQA exemption for bike lanes, expediting over 40 miles of planned bike lanes around the city.

The bill, signed last year, allows cities to seek an exemption from environmental review requirements for bike lane projects that remove a vehicle travel lane from the roadway. Instead of a long and cumbersome Environmental Impact Review process, cities can now implement such projects after a simple traffic and safety study, saving a great deal of time and money and lowering the bar for installing bike lanes across California's cities.

The language of AB 2245, however, has many city staffers around the state uncertain about how to apply the new rule. LADOT and the City are blazing a trail for the rest of the state
by providing a successful model for how to use AB 2245 properly.
ALAMEDA COUNTY SUPPORTED A TAX, BUT IT LOST ANYWAY: Last month we reported on the proposed half-cent sales tax that would have generated $7.8 billion over 30 years for transportation projects, with more than half going to transit and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. It won massive public support, with 66.53% of voters saying 'yes.' But, it lost, thanks to California law requiring two-thirds support for a tax. We're working on that.  

Wall Street Journal says bike lanes and pedestrian plazas 'pay off.' 

Even bastions of traditional thought like the Wall Street Journal are coming around on the benefits of bike lanes. Just this month, the WSJ applauded NYDOT for their study on the economic impacts of bike lanes and pedestrian plazas around New York City.  NYDOT found that the businesses on streets receiving bike lanes or pedestrian plazas saw increases in retail sales, increased property values, and lower rates of vacancy.  Bike lanes aren't just good for safety and the environment, they're good for business. 
CalBike offers $100 to go to the Bike Summit
We're awarding $100 to up to three new attendees from California Congressional districts represented by Republicans. The party that controls the House of Representatives has some things to learn about the importance of federal investment in bicycle safety, and they'll hear it powerfully if the message is delivered by a constituent who cared enough to travel all the way to D.C.

The National Bike Summit is March 4-7. Please join us! 

Proposals due for Safe Routes to School conference 
Feb. 15 deadline for proposals 
Aug 13-15 conference  
California is fortunate to host the national Safe Routes to School conference in Sacramento this August. That means it's easy for you to share what you've learned with a wide audience. Now is the time to propose breakouts, workshops, tours, mind mixer sessions or networking activities. Use this form, and submit your proposal before Feb. 15.
Meet Tom Torlakson at CalBike fundraiser in Sacramento! 
February 20   


Meet Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and talk bikes and education. It's a fun way to benefit for our work to triple bicycling in California by 2020. The hors d'eouvres, drinks, and fun conversation start at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 20 in Sacramento. Find details and RSVP here. 
Learn more about upcoming rides and events at

logo of Bikes Belonglogo of SRAMlogo of Shimanotrek logo