SAFER California: two state bills we’re supporting

This legislative cycle, your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is supporting two state bills part of the SAFER California streets package, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener. Show your support for safety on our streets and send an email for Senate Bill (SB) 960 for complete streets facilities, and SB 961 for safe driving technology.

As we move past the 10-year anniversary of our Vision Zero commitment, it’s long-past time to take big strides to put an end to traffic fatalities. Speeding remains the number one cause of severe and fatal collisions in San Francisco and all of California. By significantly reducing speeds, SB 960 and SB 961 will prevent these types of fatalities by increasing safety and accessibility for people who walk, bike and take public transit.

SB 960 will mandate the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to provide Complete Streets facilities in nearly any planned maintenance and repair projects, adding safety elements to protect the most vulnerable road users. 

If passed, this bill will set 4- and 10-year targets for Caltrans to improve their performance with Complete Streets. It requires that the department establishes a streamlined process for the approval of bicycle improvements, pedestrian facilities, traffic calming measures and transit priority treatments where the state-owned streets meet locally-owned streets.

Despite Caltrans committing to implementing safer and multimodal street designs over a decade ago, progress has been very slow. Many of Caltrans’ streets in San Francisco are designated as high-injury and are in desperate need of safety improvements. Expediting these improvements is crucial for San Francisco because Caltrans streets, such as I-280 or 19th Ave, cut through large portions of the city, including many neighborhoods with vulnerable and marginalized populations. 

SB 961 will require all vehicles built or sold in California starting in 2030 (except emergency vehicles) to have passive intelligent speed assistance technology. This includes audio and visual warnings to the driver when the vehicle is going more than 10 MPH over the speed limit. 

When the bill was initially introduced it required speed limiting technology that actually prevents vehicles from traveling at excessive speeds, however it was amended to passive assistant technology. Speed warnings are still a good step toward encouraging safer speeds and will transform street safety for everyone, and particularly those most vulnerable to collisions – seniors, children, and people with disabilities. We hope to see more revolutionary technology in the future.

Both bills have a few more steps to pass before they become law. SB 960 is going to the Assembly Committee on Transportation on July 1. SB 961 recently passed the Assembly Transportation Committee and is going to the Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection soon.

Send an email for SB 960

Send an email for SB 961

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