SafeTREC’s Offer Grembek Provides Expert Testimony on AB 1909 Bicycle Omnibus Bill

April 6, 2022

On Monday March 28th, 2022 the California State Assembly Committee on Transportation held a hearing to discuss fourteen bills addressing transportation legislation around pedestrian and bicycle safety, speed safety systems, transportation planning and funding, and more. As part of the proceedings, SafeTREC Co-Director Offer Grembek provided expert testimony for AB 1909, the Bicycle Omnibus Bill. 

Members of the California State Assembly Transportation Committee hear public comment by phone for AB 1909

AB 1909 Bicycle Omnibus Bill

The AB 1909 Bicycle Omnibus Bill:

  1. Eliminates the statewide ban of class 3 electric bicycles on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail. 

  2. Authorizes a local authority having jurisdiction over an equestrian trail or hiking or recreational trail to prohibit the operation of an electric bicycle of any class on that trail. 

  3. Eliminates local authority on banning class 1 and 2 electric bicycles on bike paths. 

  4. Allows bicyclists to follow leading pedestrian intervals at intersections. 

  5. Requires motor vehicle operators, when overtaking or passing a bicycle in the same direction, to move over a lane of traffic when possible.

  6. Eliminates local authority to require bicycle registration.

During his testimony, Grembek discussed how parts of the AB 1909 bill align with the Safe System approach to road safety, which is a set of principles and elements that can guide our efforts towards building a system on which no road user can be severely or fatally injured.

Removing the prohibition of class 3 e-bikes on the facilities described in the bill would improve alignment with principles of the Safe System approach.” Grembek noted that this would provide “better mode grouping since class 3 e-bikes will be grouped with modes that have a similar magnitude of kinetic energy; and, in the long-run, it may encourage more proactive design considerations for vulnerable road user environments.”

He also discussed how requiring motor vehicle operators, when overtaking or passing a bicycle in the same direction, to move over a lane of traffic when possible is also in alignment with the Safe System approach. Grembek noted that this would “provide additional redundancy, or layers of protection, to the desirable physical separation between modes. Furthermore, when road users do make a mistake, it provides a wider safety buffer and would reduce the chances of a catastrophic outcome.