Any state lawmakers want to be “bike-friendly”? Change Section 891.2 and 890.3 in Streets and Highways code

This is the new logo for cargo bike date night.
This isn’t “bicycle commuting” but it still should be counted in bicycle plan studies.

Anyone in state government want to make a painless change to state law and come out smelling fresh and clean to constituents as the “bike friendly” candidate in the next election? If so, please consider changing an absurd bit of state law.

In the Streets and Highways code, the state (for some strange reason) does not count people riding their bikes for fun, and won’t fund city projects that do.

This is absurd and is not applied to any other mode of transportation – mainly because it is impossible to measure, but also because it is absurd to do this to one transportation category and not all others.

Here is the offending section of the Streets and Highways code:

“890.3. As used in this article, “bicycle commuter” means a person making a trip by bicycle primarily for transportation purposes,including, but not limited to, travel to work, school, shopping, or other destination that is a center of activity, and does not include a trip by bicycle primarily for physical exercise or recreation without such a destination.”

This definition, by itself, isn’t damaging; it is how it is used later in section 891.2. (a):

“891.2. A city or county may prepare a bicycle transportation plan, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:
(a) The estimated number of existing bicycle commuters in the plan area and the estimated increase in the number of bicycle commuters resulting from implementation of the plan.“

When they plan highways, do they ask that people in RV’s not be counted? Do car drivers get excluded from vehicle and traffic counts if they are going to drive Mulholland or cruise to a friends house for no particular reason? What if I am commuting and experiencing recreational joy on my bicycle – am I no longer a commuter?

If anyone with half a brain can find a way to amend this state code they will find that instead of fighting a veto from the Governor’s Office (as with the 3 foot passing law’s many attempts at passage) they will instead be embraced by a cabal of bike planning consultant firms and local bike advocates – grateful at having this bicycle Jim-Crow-style law abolished.

It is either the law gets changed or we should sue. Law making is more fun than going to trial, so let’s start with the legislature first.

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