This afternoon, your Governor, Edmund G. Brown, vetoed the most significant statewide cyclists safety legislation ever sent to any governor’s desk. The bill, SB 910, has been hailed by advocates across the state and championed in champion fashion by the California Bicycle Coalition (read the CBC letter). So unwavering and hard-fought was @CalBike‘s campaign that Brown’s veto can only come as a crushing blow to all cyclists who call for protection under the law. Not least, many hundreds of personal stories of intimidation and harm flowed to Sacramento from our two-wheeled comrades to no evident effect.
We in the cycling community who actually suffer near-misses and fender-brushes had no truck against opposition from the Auto Club and the California Highway Patrol. The latter raised some week arguments that were effectively rebutted by the Coalition, which noted that many states have already passed such a law. That leaves the CHP and the Auto Club standing alone as our nemeses when it comes to safeguarding travel for cyclists.
If the Governor didn’t want to buck this bill’s powerful opponents, he could have let it take effect without his signature. Instead, he dumped his veto on us mid-afternoon on a Friday – just in time for the slow Saturday news cycle. Cowardly.
What can we do? We can press our legislators to override his veto. We can remind the Governor that we care about our safety even if he doesn’t. Or we can call his legislative staffers directly using this handy Governor’s office telephone directory. We suggest you tell your own stories of road woe to the high-level staffers who surely counseled the Governor on his veto: Julie Henderson, Senior Adviser for Policy; Gareth Elliott, Legislative Affairs Secretary; and Nick Velasquez Director of External Affairs. (The latter well schooled in LA street politics where bike-friendliness never got a Councilman elected.)
Call ’em up and tell them that Better Bike sent you! And while you’re feeling generous with your stories of close calls on our roads, take a minute to give the CBC more than shout-out for their hard work – become a member!