Two Portantino Pro Cycling Bills Signed by Governor Newsom

File Photo (Ross A Benson)

Senate Bills 712 and 538, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), were signed by Governor Newsom. SB 712 prevents landlords from prohibiting tenants from owning and charging electronic bikes and scooters in apartments. SB 538 requires the Department of Transportation to appoint an advisor on active transportaiton, specifically issues related to bicycle and pedestricn design and safety.

While many private developers have been enacting policies to limit or outright ban their tenants from owning or storing micro mobility devices such as e-bikes in their units more and more people are gravitating toward active, environmentally friendly transportation methods. Sadly, some landlords have begun responding to the increased use of e-bikes and scooters with bans on these micro mobility devices and  storage by tenants. These ban disproportionately affect low-income families who may be car-free or car-light and rely on micro mobility devices as their primary mode of transportation. A ban of these types of sustainable transportation methods runs contrary to our state’s climate and greenhouse gas reduction goals. 

“E-bikes and scooters transform mobility, improve environmental and public health, and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution,” stated Senator Portantino. “SB 712 makes it easier for people to use active-electric transportation devices by allowing tenants to store and charge them in their apartments.”

SB 712 prohibits a landlord from prohibiting a tenant from owning a personal micro mobility device or from storing and recharging up to one personal micro mobility device in their dwelling unit, unless the landlords provide secure, long-term storage for those devices. The bill requires a tenant to store a micro mobility device in compliance with the Office of the State Fire Marshal Information Bulletin regarding lithium-ion battery safety.

“Streets For All is incredibly proud of Governor Newsom for his signature and thankful to Senator Portantino for his leadership.  This law will enable renters to store e-bikes, which are the fastest selling electric vehicle in the country in their homes. It is critical that we enable renters to more affordably use broad mobility options through e-bikes while also increasing the quality of the e-bike market,” stated Marc Vukcevich, Co-Director of State Policy for Streets for All.

As for SB 538, it requires the California Department of Transportation to include a Bicycle Facilities Unit (BFU). The BFU will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of Caltrans bicycle programs, promoting well designed bicycle facilities, and cultivating the funding, regulations, and education that makes these facilities possible. Currently, there is no specialized department chair who can advise the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on issues related to bicycle transportation.

“When we plan and implement transportation policies, it’s important that we are safeguarding cyclist and pedestrian safety,” commented Senator Portantino. “Having someone at Caltrans solely focus on the needs of cycling communities and tasked with implementing safe street policies just makes sense. Thank you to Governor Newsom for recognizing the importance of increasing cyclist and pedestrian safety.  I was gratful that a constiutent suggested this bill idea to me and I was able to make it state law.”

SB 538 requires the director of the California Department of Transportation to appoint a Chief Advisor on Cycling and Active Transportation, who shall serve as the department’s chief advisor on all issues related to bicycle transportation, safety, and infrastructure.

“Streets For All is incredibly proud of Governor Newsom for signing SB 538 and grateful to Senator Portantino for authoring it. By having a Chief Advisor on Bicycling and Active Transportation, there will be a dedicated person who has a voice at the table to improve bike and pedestrian safety across the state. This person will protect vulnerable road users at a time when we are at a 40 year high of pedestrian fatalities,” stated Marc Vukcevich, State Policy Advocate for Streets for All.

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