"Right now, many cities are not putting in cycletracks [a.k.a. protected bike lanes] for fear they don’t conform to the Caltrans manual,” says Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-S.F.) whose Assembly Bill 1193 — which would legalize and set design standards for cycletracks — cleared the Assembly yesterday [Wed/29] and is now awaiting action by the Senate," writes Steven T. Jones.
Ting is working on the issue with the California Bicycle Coalition [CBC] whose executive director Dave Snyder is a longtime San Francisco bike activist. Snyder says Caltrans doesn’t allow bike lanes that include physical barriers against traffic, even though they are widely used in other countries and states and considered to be safest design for cyclists.
According to the Jan. 23 legislative analysis, the bill "adds a new class of bikeways" known as "Class IV bikeways, also known as 'cycletracks' or 'protected bike lanes' and requires the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to develop minimum safety design criteria for them."
The CBC news update on AB 1193 states, "Prospects look good this year for approval of protected bikeways, the most important design in the Urban Bikeway Design Guide of the National Association of City Transportation Officials."
Protected bike lanes are viewed by many bike advocates as critical infrastructure that makes cycling safer, and will thus greatly increase bicycling. Indeed, Asm. Ting emphasized the safety aspect in his press release upon the bill's passage in the Assembly.
“We must make our cities more livable,” said Ting. “More people are biking in San Francisco because of our efforts to make it safer, and it’s time to do more..."