Amgen Tour of California organisers AEG could be forced to offer equal race days between its men’s WorldTour and Women’s WorldTour events after advocates submitted letters to amend California State Bill 467, and to the California Department of Transportation [Caltrans], demanding equal use of California state roadways when running sporting events.
The Tour of California men’s race begins on Sunday with a seven-day race from May 12-18, while the women’s three-day race will be held from May 16-18.
Kathryn Bertine has teamed up with the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS) co-founder Sabrina Brennan to attempt to amend/close the loopholes in California Assembly Bill 467, which focuses on paying women and men equally in competitions on California state land. But the bill still allows the exclusion of women from competitions on state roadways and state land and is silent on equal racing days.
In the meantime, Brennan, who is also the founder of Sport Equity, has sent a letter to the Director of Caltrans asking the state agency to update its permit requirements to reflect equal access to roadways.
Brennan and Bertine, who is the co-founder of Le Tour Entier and founder of the Homestretch Foundation, are advocating for additional amendments to AB 467 that include both equal pay and equal access for women in all races on state roadways. They wrote and support the amendments that require multi-day cycling events to include the same number of race days for women and men. Bertine submitted an “Oppose Unless Amended” letter requesting an amendment to the bill that was officially uploaded to California legislation last month.
“The reason that we suggested the amendment to this bill to include roadways, and not highways or streets because roadways are all-inclusive,” Bertine told Cyclingnews. “For events like the Tour of California, or events in your local neighbourhood, the race director must go and get permits for the road, and that’s where it comes into play. Those permits, under bill 467, would not be issued unless their event is equal for men and women.”
If the amendments to the bill pass, events like the Tour of California, which offer the only WorldTour and Women’s WorldTour events in the US, would be forced to provide equal race days for both events. It would not affect a race like the Redlands Bicycle Classic because organisers already offer the same race days for both men’s and women’s categories.
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