Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 43 (AB 43) into law. This new state law, championed by Assemblymember Laura Friedman from Los Angeles, will make it easier for cities to lower their speed limits to improve street safety. Using this law, San Francisco will be able to take an important step towards achieving the city’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024.
With this bill, residents of San Francisco will be safer on streets as speed is the number one indicator of whether or not a person hit by a vehicle will survive or not.
AB 43 will have numerous impacts on San Francisco. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will begin reducing speed limits in seven key areas by five mph (i.e. 25 mph to 20 mph) in January 2022 when the bill goes into effect. Using a data-driven approach, the SFMTA will focus on reducing speed limits on commercial corridors, near schools, and on streets that are known to be unsafe for people who bike and walk.
As supporters of the bill, your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition worked to build local support for AB 43 and connected with our state legislators to make sure they knew why the ability to lower speed limits is so important. In particular, we are grateful for Assemblymember David Chiu’s support and his partnership with Assemblymember Friedman; together, they won overwhelming support in both the State Assembly and State Senate before it was ultimately signed by Governor Newsom.
One incredible advocate who helped pass AB 43 was Stephen Bingham of Families for Safe Streets. He shared, “The passage of AB 43 and its signing by Governor Newsom is huge. San Francisco will no longer be required to raise the speed limit on a street just because 85% of drivers exceed the posted speed. AB 43 is a first, important step in rolling back speed limits to reduce the horrific traffic violence plaguing San Francisco and other cities.”
While this is a victory to celebrate, there are more steps to eliminate traffic fatalities. Your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition continues to be committed to working with local and state elected officials to advance policies like AB 43 that make our streets safer. To support our work and be part of the movement to make all streets safer in San Francisco, become a member or renew your membership.