Transportation Committee moves forward with anti-harassment ordinance

I’m buried with work today.

And I’m damned if I’m going to let an 84 degree sunny SoCal day pass without at least a quick spin down the coast.

But I don’t want to let this morning pass without catching up on yesterday’s news from the City Council Transportation Committee. Because it marked one of those vital quantum leap moments — a seemingly small shift that could result in a dramatic change down the road.

I’ll try to fill you in with more details later, but here’s the key point. After eloquent comments by Ross Hirsch — the attorney for hit-and-run victim Ed Magos — and BAC chair Glenn Bailey, the Transportation Committee voted unanimously to move forward with drafting a first-of-its-kind ordinance to ban harassment of cyclists.

While other cities and states have passed anti-harassment laws, this ordinance would be the first to allow cyclists to file suit themselves for violent or aggressive actions directed towards them, whether it’s committed by drivers, bystanders or even other riders.

As the representative from the City Attorney’s office stressed, it would not prohibit anything that is not already against the law, and it would not prevent criminal prosecution for any incident where there’s sufficient evidence to prosecute.

It would simply, finally, give cyclists the opportunity to protect themselves on the streets of L.A. And possibly prevent the kind of harassment that we’ve all experienced at one time or another.

And mark L.A.’s growth from a bicycling backwater to a world leader in protecting the rights of cyclists.

Yes, it really is that big.

The next test comes on Monday when the proposal will be taken up by the Council’s Public Safety Committee, which has been significantly less friendly to cyclists in the past.

The more riders we can get in that room, the better our chances to keep it moving forward.

7 comments

  1. Do you know whether the hearing is archived online?

  2. Thanks for giving this issue the attention it deserves. It really is a big deal.

  3. Opus the Poet says:

    Hot Damn! You guys get civil protection from scofflaw drivers and we get Tasha Borland in prison for 20.4 years without parole! Ain’t things just ducky everywhere?

  4. Zeke says:

    I wonder if only the affected cyclist can file a civil complaint OR if someone with legal standing, i.e., spouse, parent, sibling, might be able to file on their behalf in the event the cyclist is unable to do so on their own due to some impairment that resulted from the incident…

    – Zeke

    • bikinginla says:

      Good question, Zeke. With my limited knowledge of the law, I’d guess that in that case they’d be able to sue under existing laws, and wouldn’t need this ordinance. But maybe an actual lawyer can answer that question better than I can.

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