Press Release

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

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 the Senate on Monday.  

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.

“This is a good governance bill plain and simple,” Sen. Blakespear said. “SB 689 cuts out unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to building bike lanes in coastal zones, and that helps communities more quickly improve traffic safety, protect cyclists and encourage climate-friendly 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 delayed. Under SB 689, the bike lanes could have been added as part of the project and perhaps prevented the accident.

The legislation goes next to the Assembly for consideration. The bill is also supported by the California Bicycle Coalition, the City of Santa Monica, Circulate San Diego, Santa Barbara County and Streets for All.

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.