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California bike advocates get micromobility liability provision amended

Published August 27, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BRAIN) — A state senate bill was amended that would have made California's share bike and scooter providers liable for rider injuries and possibly jeopardizing the state's micromobility business.

Opponents of the liability provision in Assembly Bill 1286 argue it would have made it impossible for shared mobility systems to get insurance and likely put them out of business. The removal of the liability provision was made at the last hour that amendments were allowed on Aug. 25.

"In a matter of days, we put together a coalition of local bicycling advocacy organizations and environmental groups that helped to convince the assembly member (Al Muratsuchi) to pull that provision," said Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition.

The coalition also had objected to other aspects of the bill. One provision will increase the amount of insurance a provider must carry. Snyder said this will increase the cost of providing shared mobility but isn't a reason to oppose the bill because it has benefits for users.

Another provision mandates a provider acquire a permit before operating. The coalition supports the intent of this provision but is concerned that some cities may use it to effectively ban shared mobility.

Snyder said "we can deal with that if and when it happens."

In addition to the California Bicycle Coalition, several other bike advocate organizations sent a letter on Aug. 24 to the California State Senate opposing AB 1286, saying in part, "Shared bikes are already providing essential transportation to thousands of Californians. ... Shared bikes and scooters have already replaced millions of miles of car trips, reducing greenhouse gasses, while providing healthy, active transportation."

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