SB 932, a measure introduced by State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-Pasadena) to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety, passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee today.
The bill requires California cities to take concrete steps to reduce traffic collisions and fatalities and has garnered an impressive list of supporters, including Streets For All, ActiveSGV, CalBike, and Streets Are For Everyone.
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documenting a nearly 20% increase in traffic fatalities in the first six months of 2021 highlights the need for the bill.
“Despite efforts to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, many of our roads remain more dangerous than ever,” said Portantino. “It’s critical that we use data driven plans to improve street safety, save lives and encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. I am saddened by the all too common tragedies that occur on our streets. We have to take bold steps. SB 932 is an effective way to mitigate injuries and fatalities and will yield positive change for our communities. Just last week I was nearly clipped by a car on a ride. I know many others have similar stories to share warranting this action.”
Though California has been part of a national trend to create safer streets, many cities lack data on how to address traffic violence, deaths caused by accidents, serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and other human-powered-transit users. In certain cities where the most dangerous streets and corridors have been identified, no plans exist to remedy these deadly situations. Even in cities that have developed safety plans, meaningful changes that would actually save lives have yet to be implemented.
“It’s great to see this important bill continue to move forward,” said Michael Schneider, Founder of Streets For All. “We are in a climate crisis and especially with gas prices so high, it’s critical that cities prioritize safe, multi-modal streets for all modes of transportation.”
SB 932 requires a county or city to include a map of the high injury network in its General Plan and would further require a county or city to identify and prioritize safety improvements that would address serious and injurious traffic collisions. The bill would increase or decrease the 15-year implementation period, based on whether the measures introduced by a county or city achieve results to reduce percentages of traffic violence. SB 932 creates an annual grant program to award funding to cities and counties that implement timely and effective short-term efforts to mitigate bicycle, pedestrian, and other human-powered transportation injuries and fatalities.
“Every day I’m on my bike, I learn more about the communities I represent and the areas of good bike safety and those that are not,” Portantino said. “In fact, the intersection directly in front of my house is one of the most dangerous I traverse. It has been a tremendous benefit for me as a policy maker to reach out to the biking community to share my story and to collaborate on this important public safety and environmental effort. But this bill isn’t just about cyclists, it’s about the safety of everyone using our streets – including our children who walk to school, grandparents walking to their doctor’s appointments and people commuting to work on public transportation.”