May 03

Cycling in Safety � Meeting with Senator Torlakson, 4/30/04

About 25 local cycling advocacy and tri-athlete groups were represented at Friday�s meeting with Senator Torlakson. We only had about one hour of the Senator�s time. In that hour we discussed current and potential legislation, as well as other avenues of action in order to improve cycling safety. Knowing we had very little time in which to talk to the Senator, I summarized comments made by ROMP members in a letter (see http://www.romp.org/Senator%20Torlakson.pdf) , and presented it to him at the beginning of the meeting. A summary of the meeting is given below.REMARKS FROM SENATOR TORLAKSON

DUI Offenses � Some Facts:
� People with a DUI offense typically have more than one DUI offense.
� A third of the people with DUI offenses are arrested again within 2 years.
� A decade increased education, treatment and enforcement reduced the number of deaths from DUI offenses in California from 3,000 to 1,000. However, the number of deaths has risen to 1,400 within the last 4 years, due to a decrease in DUI campaigns

Bills That Help Reduce DUI Rates:
� SB 1694 Eliminate “Washout” for Multiple Offenders: All previous DUI violations would remain on a person�s driving record for purposes of sentencing a repeat offender. Current law provides, in most cases, that a violator is charged as a repeat offender only if that person was convicted of a previous DUI within the past seven years.
� SB 1695 Increased Assessment of Multiple offenders: All repeat offenders would be required to be assessed for drug and alcohol problems. This bill extends current law which only requires a multiple offender who drops out of treatment to be assessed.
� SB 1696 Proof of Treatment Completion: DUI treatment providers would be required to send the certificate of completion of treatment directly to the DMV. Current law allows the treatment providers to give the certificate to the participant who then presents it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as part of license renewal.
For more bills see Senator Torlakson�s website: http://democrats.sen.ca.gov/senator/torlakson/

SB 1555 � Neighborhood Traffic Safety:
� SB 1555 would have added a $5 penalty onto driver�s license renewal fees for those drivers who have 2 or more points on their driving record at the time of renewal (drivers with 2 or more points are 4 times more likely to cause an accident).
� The revenue generated would have funded grants for bicycle and pedestrian safety education programs (an estimated $3 million).
� SB 1555 was vetoed by Governor Gray Davis

Raising Awareness:
� Senator Torlakson intends to back a campaign to raise cycling in safety awareness, using Hollywood stars and sports stars (for example, Lance Armstrong)

Case Examples:
� Senator Torlakson would like to receive examples of cases where a driver was the cause of a road accident and got off lightly. Email: Senator.Torlakson@sen.ca.gov


� Drivers should receive stiffer fines for DUI offenses.
� Drivers should be tested on sharing the road with cyclists before they are granted a drivers license.
� Drivers that cause a cyclist to crash should be sent to traffic school.
� Not all drivers are at fault. Cyclists should be better educated on the rules of the road and on how to ride defensively. (Cycling instruction programs are organized by the League of American Bicyclists. Contact: Amanda Jones, amanda.jones@cityofpaloalto.org).
� Share-the-road programs are helping.
� Cycling safety information and statistics on road accidents are available at http://www.cyclingforums.com
� Police officers need to be better trained on how the laws of the road apply to cyclists.
� If an obstacle is encountered in a bike lane the city should be notified of the liability. Once notified, the city should remove the obstacle from the bike lane within 48 hours. Road hazard report lines for each city in the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are provided on the back of the �Spinning Crank� (SVBC) newsletter.
� Incident reports can be filed on the SVBC website under http://www.penbiped.org/incidentreport.html



Senator Torlakson represents most of Contra Costa County. His legislative focus is on improving the transportation system, preventing drunk driving, supporting public education, promoting consumer protection and safety, improving fitness and nutrition, and protecting the environment. Senator Torlakson is a track coach and an avid runneand bicyclist