Anti-Harassment Ordinance Held Up in Public Safety Committee

January 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Bike News | 7 Comments
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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.

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  1. […] reckless riding, while the LACBC writes about the failure of our own anti-harassment ordinance to get past the Public Safety Committee. Is anyone else embarrassed that towns like Boise and Columbia, Missouri do more to protect their […]

  2. Great idea, but how does it get enforced? It’s the cyclist’s word vs. the driver’s word. Case in point: Recently a driver passed within one foot of me on a street that had four lanes of traffic, with two lanes going in my direction. I was riding where I was supposed to be in the far right lane, and there was plenty of room to pass in the other lane.

    When I looked at the driver with a “WTF?!” expression, their passenger said “ride on the bike path.” Nobody was around, and no harm was done, other than my frayed nerves. Was the driver just oblivious or was that harassment? The three foot passing law is the enforcing code but who’s going to enforce it?

    Success of a harassment program would be hugely dependent upon a well publicized driver education and awareness campaign.

    • Enforcing any law is left up to the police. Even if you are using a video camera it is quite unlikely that anything will be done other than to collect your corpse out of the street. If you are riding on a road that motorists commonly pass to close to you, then take the lane in this area. If you are getting a repeat offender. like I did in Florida than you need to train them to behave better. A deputy sheriff taught me how to teach basic concepts to rednecks. Because this redneck was my neighbor I did not have far to travel when he acted out at me.

  3. […] For background info please go to LACBC blog post regarding the Anti-Harrassment Ordinance meeting […]

  4. […] the changes currently taking place in Los Angeles, from pushing for sharrows, bike-sharing and the anti-harassment ordinance to fighting for the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, a better bike plan and reforming the way the LAPD […]

  5. […] issue that the LAPD group will address is an anti-harassment ordinance aimed at motorists who disturb cyclists, set in motion last year by City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. […]

  6. […] you may be aware, the City Attorney has finally reported back on the proposed anti-harassment ordinance. Your Bicycle Advisory Committee hard at work in Hollywood Monday […]

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