Anti-Harassment Ordinance Held Up in Public Safety CommitteeJanuary 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Bike News | 7 Comments
Tags: Anti-Harassment, lapd
Taking up Bill Rosendahl’s December 1 motion to address the increasing number of incidents between bicyclists and motorists, Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting debated the creation of an ordinance that would prohibit the harassment of bicyclists in the City of Los Angeles. With a split amongst its members, the Public Safety committee voted not to recommend that City Council approve the motion, as the Transportation Committee did over a month ago, but instead requested that the City Attorney’s office review and report back on the motion. However, no date was set for their return.
The LACBC’s Aurisha Smolarski and Allison Mannos were at the meeting, reminding the committee of the precedent set by a law in Missouri that makes bicyclist harassment a misdemeanor with a $1000 fine and/or one year in jail. In a segment done by Channel 7 News, Aurisha can be seen explaining that although bicyclists’ have a right to the road, they often lack equal protection under the law (you can also watch Biking in LA’s Ted Rogers’ sobering comment on threats he’s received as a bicyclist).
Councilmember Dennis Zine CD3 was apt to comment that Los Angeles is not a bike friendly city, and that the city will never change its ways–to which the LACBC interjected that this mindset is a thing of the past, that LA has as much potential to make the shift towards becoming a great bicycling city that other large cities across the country have. LADOT’s Bikeways Coordinator Michelle Mowery made very poignant comment on the various 3 foot passing laws in existence and their benefits to all road users. Councilmember Tony Cardenas CD6 made numerous positive statements for more funding of bike infrastructure and an LAPD awareness campaign.
But because the State of California maintains jurisdiction over vehicle law, the committee hit a hurdle as Councilmember Gregg Smith recommended, and the full committee eventually approved, that the motion be reviewed by the City Attorney. The LACBC will be making sure that this motion is not lost in the committee process and that the harassment of bicyclists be taken as a serious offense. We’d like to work with Councilmember Cardenas, and Biking in LA’s Ted Rogers, to see the City Council sponsor state legislation to protect bicyclists if need be.