SACRAMENTO — Today, AB 122, Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath’s bill to make our streets safer for all road users passed the Assembly on a 50 – 17 bipartisan vote, after passing the Senate earlier this week on a 31 – 5 bipartisan vote. Specifically, this law would allow cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, when safe to do so. This policy has been successfully implemented in nine other states and has proven to reduce collisions, while improving cyclists’ mobility everywhere it was enacted. AB 122 is a six-year pilot, with a detailed report to the legislature after the six years.
“We must encourage smarter, safer, more efficient transportation options that help people choose to get out of their cars. This cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Assemblymember Boerner Horvath. “AB 122 encourages safe riding in our state by allowing cyclists to spend less time in dangerous intersections.”
Research and common sense make clear that complete stops at all stop sign-controlled intersections make bike trips slower and require more energy from the rider. Studies on cyclists’ stopping behavior also find that these full stops do nothing to improve, and can even reduce, rider safety — attributed mainly to the increased time cyclists spend in the intersection after a full stop compared to the safe yielding alternative.
According to data collected by the Delaware State Police, crashes involving bicycles at stop-sign controlled intersections fell by 23 percent in the 30 months after the state made the change, contributing to an 11 percent overall decrease in bicycle-involved crashes. Other states that have implemented this change noticed similar trends, and none reported an increase in riding collisions, so much so that the Delaware Senate voted unanimously to make Delaware’s safe yielding law permanent earlier this June.
Data from multiple major cities in California and elsewhere show that African American and Latino cyclists are disproportionately stopped and fined for moving violations — discouraging ridership in communities that stand to benefit from the air quality benefits that cycling offers.
“Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath’s policy approach makes San Diego County, and California, safer for all residents,” said Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, a supporter of the bill. “This reasonable practice of treating stop signs as yield signs will make intersections much safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists, while reducing carbon emissions and encouraging bicycling.”
AB 122 is supported by a statewide coalition of thousands of cyclists, climate, environmental justice, and public health advocacy organizations.
AB 122 now moves onto the Governor’s desk for consideration.