I am a member of CalBike, an nonprofit organization that advocates for equitable, inclusive, and prosperous communities where bicycling helps to enable all Californians to lead healthy and joyful lives. The following is a newsletter I received from CalBike about AB 1238 (Assembly Bill 1238, Ting. Pedestrian access.) and  AB 122 (Assembly Bill 122, Boerner Horvath. Vehicles: required stops: bicycles.)

In 2021, CalBike decided to sponsor two related bills that would have legalized walking midblock across an empty street (AB 1238, Ting) or biking carefully through a stop sign at an empty intersection (AB 122, Boerner Horvath). Our goal was to broaden and strengthen the movement for the dignity and safety of people who walk and bike. 

Despite the governor’s vetoes (see below), we made significant progress. More than 100 organizations and 3,000 people signed on in support of both bills. Your support made a difference.

The Bicycle Safety Stop Bill received bipartisan supermajority support. The Freedom to Walk Act started a national discussion about how we police walking in this country (covered in the New York Times and on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”). 

Newsom’s veto messages cited solidarity with our cause, if not our proposals. In his veto of the Freedom to Walk Act, he said, “unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws and the use of minor offenses like it as a pretext to stop people of color … is unacceptable.” His veto of the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill cited his “full support of safe and equitable access to the state’s transportation network for bicyclists.” 

Unfortunately, the governor didn’t include specific proposals to accomplish these supposed commitments to our goals in either letter. And we are troubled by his reliance on biased SWITRS data to support conclusions about bicycle and pedestrian safety.

However, CalBike is part of a strong movement and public support for giving people the joyful option to bike safely. It’s affordable, healthy, neighborly, and sustainable. We’ve gained momentum, and we’ll use that to move us forward.  CalBike is advocating for significant increases in active transportation investment at the scale needed to make our streets safe for people who bike and walk. We’ll give the governor a real chance to achieve his stated goals, and we’ll build a strong coalition with increasing public support that will make it even harder for lawmakers to reject future proposals.