BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE       BILL NO: ab 206
          SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN              AUTHOR:  dickinson
                                                         VERSION: 4/1/13
          Analysis by:  Carrie Cornwell                  FISCAL:  NO
          Hearing date:  June 4, 2013



          SUBJECT:

          Bus length limits

          DESCRIPTION:

          This bill allows the Sacramento Regional Transit District to  
          install larger bike racks on its buses.

          ANALYSIS:

          Existing law limits the length of a bus to 45 feet.  A public  
          transit operator may equip its buses of any length with bike  
          racks that extend up to 36 inches out from the front of its  
          buses and which may be loaded such that the bike handle bars  
          extend up to 42 inches in front of the bus.  In no case,  
          however, can the total length of the bus, the bike rack, and  
          bikes total a length greater than 48.5 feet.

          In order for a transit agency to operate its 45-foot buses with  
          bike racks (but not buses less than 45 feet), it must establish  
          a route review committee that conducts a field review of routes  
          where these buses would travel and consults traffic engineers  
          from public agencies with jurisdiction over roads that the bus  
          routes follow.  Only when a route review committee by unanimous  
          vote determines that 45-foot buses with front bike racks can  
          operate safely on the selected routes may the public transit  
          agency then operate such buses on those routes.  The route  
          review committee is comprised of:

           A representative of the transit agency appointed by the  
            general manager of that agency;

           A traffic engineer from the public agency that has  
            jurisdiction over the largest proportion of the transit  
            agency's bus routes; and

           A representative of the bus drivers chosen by the labor  




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            organization representing the bus drivers.

          Existing law permits the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District  
          (AC Transit) and the Gold Coast Transit District both to install  
          on their buses bike racks that extend up to 40 inches in front  
          of the bus (i.e., an additional four inches), provided that the  
          handle bars of the bikes loaded extend no more than 46 inches  
          and subject to a specified review for 45-foot buses.  The review  
          is similar to that described above for installing bike racks on  
          45-foot buses generally, except that the route review committee  
          also must include a member of the bicycling community who is  
          appointed by the transit district's governing board, but who  
          cannot vote.  In addition, before the Gold Coast Transit  
          District's (GCT's) route review committee votes to approve a  
          route for these larger bike racks, it must receive certification  
          from a licensed traffic engineer stating that all proposed  
          routes are safe for travel for 45-foot buses equipped with  
          40-inch bike racks.  

          Both of these districts must report to the Assembly  
          Transportation Committee and this committee on any traffic  
          incidents or accidents where the size of the bike rack was a  
          factor, as well as a summary of the mobility improvements the  
          bike racks provided.  AC Transit's report is due on December 31,  
          2014, and GCT's report is due on December 31, 2017.

           This bill  permits the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT)  
          also to install bike racks of up to 40 inches on its buses  
          subject to the same requirements as for the Alameda-Contra Costa  
          Transit and Gold Coast Transit districts, including the  
          requirement that a traffic engineer certify that all proposed  
          routes are safe for these 40-inch bike racks on 45-foot buses.   
          RT's report to the Assembly Transportation Committee and this  
          committee is due December 31, 2018.
          
          COMMENTS:

           1.Purpose  .  The author states that the number of bicyclists  
            using transit in Sacramento has increased to the point that RT  
            cannot accommodate many bicyclists who wish to ride RT's buses  
            with their existing two-bike racks.  He introduced this bill  
            at the request of RT so it can run buses with bike racks that  
            can hold three bikes when the route is safe for the required  
            extra length.   

            RT reports that it is eligible for a federal grant to provide  




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            three-bike racks.  Because these racks when added to RT's  
            buses extend four inches beyond what existing state law  
            permits, RT has not applied for the grant.

            This bill should result in added assurance for bicyclists that  
            there will be room for their bikes when they board the bus.   
            Proponents note that increasing bicyclists' access to bus  
            transit service extends the range from which transit users  
            travel to and from the bus and will make RT transit service  
            more attractive. 

           2.Previous legislation  .

                     AB 652 (Skinner), Chapter 369, Statutes of 2009,  
                 gave AC Transit authority to install
               40-inch bike racks on its buses, including on its 45-foot  
               buses but only pursuant to a vote of a route review  
               committee.  AC Transit reports that it never installed  
               racks on any of its 45-foot buses but has installed 40-inch  
               racks on about 50 of its 40-foot buses.  It is tracking  
               incidents and will be prepared to report on the racks on  
               schedule next year.  

                 AB 652 served as a model for AB 2488 (Williams), Chapter  
               376, Statutes of 2012, which gave the same authority to  
               Gold Coast Transit in Ventura County.  This spring Gold  
               Coast Transit installed three larger bike racks on its  
               buses but none on 45-foot buses as it only owns 35- and  
               40-foot buses.

           1.Another authorization for one district  .  This bill provides a  
            third transit district with the authority to install 40-inch  
            bus racks on its buses.  It seems likely, however, that  
            transit districts throughout the state are facing similar  
            issues with more demand from bicyclists to board buses than  
            supply of space in their bus bike racks.  To some extent,  
            design evolutions will address this issue as there are now  
            available bike racks of under 36 inches that can accommodate  
            three bikes.  In addition, next year the Legislature will  
            receive AC Transit's report on accidents related to and  
            mobility improvements resulting from these bike racks.  That  
            report, however, will not include information on including  
            larger bike racks on 45-foot buses nor will the Gold Coast  
            Transit report due in 2017.  By giving RT authority, this bill  
            may result in the Legislature receiving information on the use  
            of 40-inch bike racks on 45-foot buses.




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          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:    76-0
               Trans:    16-0 

          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  
          Wednesday,                                             May 29,  
          2013.)

               SUPPORT:  Sacramento Regional Transit (sponsor)
                         Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
                         Sierra Club California

               OPPOSED:  None received.