BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 206
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 8, 2013

                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                   AB 206 (Dickinson) - As Amended:  April 1, 2013
          SUBJECT  :  Public transit bus limitation: bicycle racks

           SUMMARY :  Extends the allowable length of a public bus owned and  
          operated by the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) by  
          four inches, for a bike rack mounted on the front of it.  The  
          additional length would allow for the use of bike racks that  
          carry three bikes.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Authorizes a folding device that extends not more than 40  
            inches from the front body of an RT bus, when the folding  
            device is fully deployed, to permit the transportation of a  
            bicycle with handlebars that extend not more than 46 inches  
            from the front of the vehicle.  

          2)Restricts the provisions of this bill to only RT.  

          3)Requires RT, if any of its buses has a folding device  
            installed, to submit a report to both the Senate and Assembly  
            Transportation Committees on or before December 31, 2018,  
            including a summary of any vehicular or traffic accidents  
            where the folding device was a factor and also describing the  
            mobility improvements that the folding devices provide.  

          4)Requires, for 45 foot buses, the establishment of a route  
            review committee, as specified, to determine what routes are  
            suitable for the safe operation of a 45-foot bus that is  
            equipped with an extended front-mounted bicycle rack.  
          EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Authorizes a public agency to operate a bus on the interstate  
            highways that exceeds 45 feet in length if the excess length  
            is caused by a folding device attached to the front of the bus  
            that is designed and used exclusively for transporting  
            bicycles, and if its operation is on a route approved by a  
            specific route review committee.  

          2)Imposes a 40-foot limitation on the length of vehicles that  
            may be operated on the highways, with specified exemptions.   


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            Exempts from this limitation an articulated bus or trolley and  
            a bus, except a school bus, that is operated by a public  
            agency or passenger stage corporation that is used in a  
            transit system if it is equipped with a folding device  
            attached to the front of the vehicle that is designed and used  
            exclusively for transporting bicycles, does not materially  
            affect efficiency or visibility of vehicle safety equipment,  
            and does not extend more than 36 inches from the front of the  
            body of the bus or trolley when fully deployed.  In addition,  
            existing law prohibits a bicycle that is transported on the  
            above described device from having the bicycle handlebars  
            extend more than 42 inches from the front of the vehicle.  For  
            a bus operated by a public agency and equipped with a folding  
            device attached to the front of the bus that is designed and  
            used exclusively for transporting bicycles, the total length  
            of the bus, including the folding device or load, is not to  
            exceed 48.5 feet.  

          3)Authorizes the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District and Gold  
            Coast Transit to install folding devices attached to the front  
            of its buses that are designed and used exclusively for  
            transporting bicycles as long as those devices meet certain  
            requirements, including, but not limited to, extending not  
            more than 40 inches from the front of the bus when fully  
            deployed, and that the handlebars of the bicycles being  
            transported extend not more than 46 inches from the front of  
            the bus.  If Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District installs  
            the bicycle racks, this bill would require them to report to  
            transportation committees of the Legislature on or before  
            December 31, 2014, regarding safety issues and mobility  
            improvements.  Requires a route review committee for  
            deployment of extended bike racks of buses 45' or greater.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  Existing law establishes maximum length, width,  
          height, and weight limits for a variety of vehicles that are  
          authorized to operate on the state's roadways.  These  
          limitations have been carefully considered by the Legislature  
          and the pertinent traffic safety and enforcement agencies to  
          promote and ensure public safety and the efficient movement of  
          traffic.  The length of a vehicle is one of the most important  
          safety factors that can significantly affect road performance  
          because the longer the length of the vehicle the more difficult  
          it is for the operator to negotiate turns without encroaching  


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          into adjacent traffic lanes (a condition commonly known as  
          "off-tracking") and damaging street curbs and other road  
          fixtures and possibly compromising the safety of any passengers  
          and other motorists.  The increase that this bill would permit  
          in overall length may result in an increased risk to the public  
          because the turning radius of these vehicles is already pushing  
          the limits of street and road design throughout the state.   
          Furthermore, it should be noted that due to the common use of  
          these buses in highly populated areas with a high amount of  
          vehicle and foot traffic, the added length (four inches) from  
          the bicycle racks could cause the increase in collisions with  
          vehicles and pedestrians.  

          The author contends that this bill would authorize RT to operate  
          three-bicycle rack systems on their buses that would allow them  
          to better meet rider demands.  

          Writing in support of this bill, the Sacramento County Board of  
          Supervisors indicate that the lack of bike rack availability has  
          been a deterrent to riders who want to combine transit and bike  
          use on their local trips and that AB 206 will provide comparable  
          authority already granted to two other transits.  

          Whatever the case, exploring all options to facilitate the use  
          of bicycles should be encouraged whether the use is for long  
          recreational rides, employment commutes, or bus/bike linkages.   
          However, there is an ongoing pilot program established for the  
          Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District authorizing it to deploy  
          three-bicycle racks on its buses.  The initial pilot program  
          requires the development of a report by December 31, 2014,  
          providing information to the Legislature on the bus accidents  
          involving the bike racks and any recommendations for mobility  
          improvements.  Preliminary information from the Alameda-Contra  
          Costa Transit District provide information on bus accidents but  
          provide no correlation if the three-bicycle rack is the cause.    
          Along with the addition of Gold Coast Transit to participate in  
          the pilot program, may it be prudent to wait until these two  
          separate pilot studies are submitted before allowing another  
          entity to add length to the front of their buses?  

           Related bills  :  AB 2488 (Williams) Chapter 376, Statutes of  
          2012, and AB 652 (Skinner) Chapter 369, Statutes of 2009,  
          similar bills that allow Gold Coast Transit and the  
          Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, respectively, to install  
          extended three-bike carriers on the front of their buses.  


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          Sacramento Regional Transit District (sponsor)
          Sacramento County Board of Supervisors   
          Sierra Club California
          None on file

          Analysis Prepared by  :   Ed Imai / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093