Press Release

Legislation to Improve Bike Safety and Access in Coastal Zones Passes 2 Senate Committees

SB 689 will make it easier to install bike lanes in areas governed by the Coastal Commission

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to improve bike safety and access in coastal areas by making it easier for bike lanes to be constructed passed two Senate committees on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 689 does two things. First, it states that a new traffic study, which can be costly and time consuming, is not necessary for a coastal development permit or a Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendment when a local government is converting an existing motorized vehicle lane into a dedicated bicycle lane. Secondly, it asserts that if the creation of a new dedicated bicycle lane requires an LCP amendment, it is eligible for a de minimis process when the Coastal Commission’s Executive Director determines that it is warranted.

“Bike lanes are an important component of transportation in coastal areas, and we need to make sure local agencies can install bike lanes as quickly and easily as possible to keep cyclists safe,” Blakespear said. “SB 689 is a good government bill that furthers our goals of improving traffic safety, increasing bicycle access to coastal areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging alternative transportation.”  

The legislation is supported by the City of San Diego, which could not add protected bike lanes on busy West Point Loma Boulevard in October as part of a planned resurfacing project due to the Coastal Commission approvals required. Sadly, in the following weeks, a 41-year old woman bicyclist was struck from behind by a vehicle on the road and hospitalized with a fractured pelvis.

The accident demonstrated both the need for the bikes lanes and the danger when safety improvements are unnecessarily delayed. Under SB 689, the bike lanes could have been added as part of the project and prevented the accident.

“The City of San Diego is committed to helping tackle major statewide challenges like climate change, and part of that is supporting clean transportation options,” said City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “SB 689 will streamline bike lane creation in coastal areas, where they often meet long delays from an overly complex review process. I thank Senator Blakespear for authoring SB 689 on behalf of the City of San Diego to help ensure all communities have access to safe infrastructure.”

The legislation passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and, separately, the Senate Transportation Committee. It goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Elected in 2022, Sen. Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.