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Friday, April 10, 2015

** California Riders ** Summary of SB51 in Assembly Trans Committee - Monday, April 6, 2015

** California Riders **
Summary of SB51 in Assembly Trans Committee - Monday, April 6, 2015
This afternoon (4/6/15), AB 51 (Lane Splitting) was presented and heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee in the capitol building in Sacramento.
Both Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D), AD 20 - Hayward, (bill author) and Assembly Member Tom Lackey (R), AD 36 - Lancaster (bill Joint-Author), presented the bill.
- Both members, first and foremost were very much in favor of Lane Splitting as a legal practice to ease congestion and reduce the number of rear end collisions between motorcyclists and motorists.
- Guidelines were established and publicly published as an educational tool in 2013 but were later forced to remove them due to a lack of legislative approval. This now has left a void in educating the public on safe, lane splitting practices since the CHP could no longer use programs to reach and educate the public regarding the subject. AB 51 codifies the CHP lane splitting guidelines.
- Quirk stated that he is working closely with his local motorcycle rider community to address their concerns.
- The bill was modeled after the CHP Motorcycle Lane Splitting Guidelines were originally crafted, in part, based on research provided by Dr. Thomas Rice - UC Berkeley (commissioned by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the CHP). Since then, there is a new study coming out at the end of the month that will have better data of crash indicators.
- Currently the bill, as entered, uses a set speed of 30 MPH with 10 MPH over the speed of traffic. That limit could be higher depending on the data coming out in the new report, but until then, Quirk is reluctant to change the bill to ensure he remains in-line with the CHP. When the new report comes out and there is reason to change the bill, Quirk stated that he will work with the motorcycle community, the CHP and other law enforcement agencies to decide if a change is necessary.
- Tom Lackey introduced himself. He is a 28 year, retired CHP officer and as such, is experienced in matters that the bill addresses. Lackey stated that AB 51 is NOT designed to PROHIBIT lane splitting, but to enhance statute clarity to help both motorcycle and non motorcycle riders understand what is legal and what is not legal, because most of the public is unclear. The bill encourages safer travel for everyone on the road.
- Michael Gun, representing the insurance industry in California testified in support of AB51 as a way to inform and educate the public on the safe practice outlined in the bill.
- Nick Haris, AMA Western Region Rep and Jim Lombard, ABATE of CA lobbyist testified in opposition to the bill as currently written (based on the 30 MPH limit). Lombardo used the example of a bicycle attempting to maneuver safely at a slow speed and that by going faster can the rider exert greater control as well as pointing out that air-cooled engines run hotter when traveling at slower speeds.
- Members of the public attending the hearing who opposed the bill were giving the opportunity to step forward and state their name, organization. There were approximately 30 members of the motorcycle community at the hearing and approx 25 of them voiced their opposition to the bill 'as written'.
- Quirk stating that he felt the subject had to be addressed this year and asked the committee to pass the bill and allow it to go to Appropriations. He reiterated that once he got the new report, he would work with the motorcycle community and law enforcement agencies to amend the bill if necessary and work with the transportation committee on the amended language.
- Before the vote was taken, several members of the committee spoke in support of the bill... Katcho Achadjian (Vice Chair - AD 35, San Luis Obispo) who is a rider himself, Kansen Chu (AD 25, Milpitas) and even Jim Frazier (Committee Chair, AD 11, Fairfield). Frazier, recommended that Quirk and Lackey both ride "full dresser Harley Davidsons" so they could measure, first hand, the effects of speed on the maneuver.
- A vote was taken: result - 13 ayes, 1 no. See the next update to the bill analysis for complete information
Next, AB 51 moves on to Assembly Appropriations - Date TBD
If AB 51 passes Appropriations, it will come back to the Assembly floor for approval. If approved on the floor of the Assembly, the bill will go to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. If it passes there, it will go to Senate Appropriations. If it passes there, the bill will go to the Senate floor for approval. If it passes the Senate, then it is on to Governor Brown for his signature of approval or veto.
The bill analysis will be updated shortly to reflect today's hearing.…/ab_51_cfa_20150403_145437_asm_c…