L.A.’s groundbreaking anti-harassment ordinance moves forward; Box says the journey continues

Unfortunately, transit issues kept me from getting to Wednesday’s Transportation Committee meeting until after the hearing for the proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

The good news is, there were plenty of other cyclists there to support it, including Ross Hirsch, Jeff Jacobberger and BAC Chair Jay Slater. In the end, the measure received unanimous approval to move forward to the full council, while the City Attorney’s office considers minor wording changes to clarify the penalties and to add a line prohibiting forcing cyclists off the road.

The committee also voted to support a study to develop solid data for a Safe Routes to School program, and to recommend funding of bike and pedestrian projects from Measure R.

Damien Newton offers a full recount of the meeting on Streetsblog, and LADOT Bike Blog provides an in-depth report on the anti-harassment ordinance. And you catch up on the meeting by following the Twitter feed.

As for me, I gained first-hand knowledge of why Wilshire Boulevard so desperately needs a Bus Rapid Transit lane.

And why I will avoid the 720 bus from here on, even if it means walking another 10 blocks to catch the 728.

.………

Stephen Box says even though he lost, the journey continues; let’s not forget that he remains the city’s most forceful bike activist. It will be interesting to see if the beard comes back, or if he stays in his new clean-shaven politico mode.

Meanwhile, Tom LaBonge says thanks, and Damien Newton offers his thoughts on Tuesday’s election results; as usual on Streetsblog, the comments are worth reading, too. Mark Elliot offers an insightful post-mortem on Better Bike Beverly Hills in which he blames you, if you were one of the overwhelming majority of voters who didn’t bother to.

.………

The Economist says if motorists paid for all the costs they impose on others, there’d be fewer drivers complaining about bike lanes and more people using them. And a writer for the Washington Post nails it when he says if you love driving, buy your neighbor a bike:

I see the (New York City) Bloomberg administration’s aggressive pursuit of bike lanes and related alternatives as an almost radically pro-car position. If driving is to remain half as pleasant as Cassidy wants it to, it will only be because most New Yorkers decide against purchasing cars. And they’re only going to do that if the other options seem attractive…. I’ve seen that future and it’s called Los Angeles. New Yorkers should want no part of it.

Neither should we.

Meanwhile, suddenly embattled NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan escapes the media-generated backlash to present at the National Bike Summit. And a DC writer says hatred of cyclists is not a partisan issue; she’s got a point, I’m sure liberal drivers blame cyclists as much as conservatives do. And Dave Moulton says the whole argument is a sign that we’re winning.

.………

CSU Long Beach and UC Irvine were named Silver-level Bike Friendly Universities by the League of American Bicyclists; UCLA was awarded Bronze. Needless to say, USC, which banned bikes from parts of campus — including a walkway Metro lists as designated bikeway — wasn’t.

The upper levels were held exclusively by California schools, with UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara awarded Gold, and Stanford the only school recognized with a Platinum award. And that little school in my hometown gets a little credit, too.

Thanks to Evan G. for the tip.

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The next Folk Art Everywhere ride rolls this Saturday from noon to 3 pm starting at Rudy Ortega Park in San Fernando, giving you a chance to tour the Northeast Valley in a fun and easygoing way while you learn about the Valley’s past and present Native American tribes. Guest speakers will represent Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, Pacoima Beautiful and Pukuu Cultural Community Services.

.………

ABC’s Modern Family talks up cycling and safe streets; maybe some of the other Hollywood shows will join in. Without bike parking, bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure won’t encourage commuting or shopping. More on the national Best Practices Award given to LACBC’s City of Lights Program. LADOT Bike Blog reports on the March BPIT meeting. A 55-year old rider known as the Unigeezer becomes the first to ride a unicycle up L.A.’s steepest street.

Thousand Oaks residents argue over widening a roadway for a planned bike lane; opponents actually call for a separated bike path instead. A look at Amine Britel, the cyclist killed by an alleged drunk driver in Newport Beach last month. Russ Roca says this bike is not a bike, it’s a Brompton — but please don’t tell. Santa Rosa senior citizens oppose a bike lane through their retirement community. Lodi is the latest city to crack down on cyclists, though most of their scofflaws are children. Cal State Fullerton police use GPS trackers to bust bike thieves. Visalia’s bike plan calls for 200 miles of new bike lanes. The Art of the Group Ride, a great new — well, new to me at least — Bay Area blog enjoys a group ride for two, even if the other rider is just 2-1/2.

Rising young marathoner, trail runner and triathlete  Sally Meyerhoff was killed in a collision with a pickup in Maricopa AZ on Tuesday when she reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up. Looks like bike cafes may be the latest trend. The new Urban Bikeway Design Guide is out for all you traffic engineers, street planners and infrastructure wonks. Nine tips for beginning cyclists. Detroit focuses on biking to attract young professionals to the city. As part of CNN’s Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, a cyclist discovers the challenges of clipless pedals. Traffic isn’t the only risk some riders face.

Christian Vande Veld is passing on this year’s Giro. Former Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti says a two-year doping ban probably marks the end of his riding career. Pro riders threaten to strike over a ban on race radios; somehow, Eddie Merckx and the other legends seemed to do okay without them. Brisbane pedestrians call for a ban on sidewalk riding “lycra lunatics” because “we were here first.” A Christchurch NZ cyclist is determined to ride again after breaking his neck while riding to check on his neighbors after the recent earthquake.

Finally, Bike Rumor says now this is a bike lane. Anyone want to bet there’s nothing like it in the L.A. or L.A. County plans?

6 comments

  1. “Bike Hate”

    This concept is way overblown to me.
    Yes we all experience animosity on the road from time to time, but relative to the large number of drivers/ people we interact with on the road, the number of people to express negative feelings about sheer the presence of a bike are a very tiny but vocal minority.

    And I am convinced that the majority of these people (in addition to being unhappy about crappy traffic conditions and a crappy life) are simply ignorant of the law.

    I don’t buy the idea of “backlash” against cycling, there is simply a lack of education and we can point to LADOT & the CADMV for failing to educate people about the proper relationship between bikes and cars on the road.

    I will admit that there are a few people out there who simply despise people who have found a way to get to work that doesn’t cost them $3000-$6000 a year and endless hours stuck in traffic. But those are a minority of drivers on the road….

    Sadly … a driver who is totally indifferent to cyclists doesn’t make the news, as our ad driven news cycle thrives on conflict, real or imagined.

    Indeed, lets work to hold accountable those who harass cyclists, but lets not empower these people by furthering the myth that they anything more than that same tiny percentage of people who are rude to other drivers, rude to pedestrians, rude to food servers, supermarket checkers, and every other human being they interact with.

  2. Jim Lucas says:

    Is “L.A.’s groundbreaking anti-harassment ordinance” just more feel good legislation that does nothing? Will it be enforced? Or, will it be like the “3 Foot Law? By the way, has anyone, anywhere, yet reported any citation being written for violating the “3 Foot Law? Like speed laws, if the Law Enforcement Officers will not enforce them the motorists will ignore them—DUH!

    • bikinginla says:

      Actually, California doesn’t have a three-foot law yet, thanks to opposition from the CHP and trucking industry. However, I have read a number of reports of it being enforced in states that do have one, as well as cases where it should have been enforced and wasn’t.

      Far from “feel-good” legislation, what makes the anti-harassment ordinance groundbreaking is that it is the first law anywhere that makes harassment of cyclists a civil, rather than criminal, violation. Which means that it doesn’t need to be enforced by anyone — you can take the driver to court yourself, with no involvement by the police, CA or DA. And by virtue of being a civil action, the burden of proof is lower, making your case more winnable.

      But you’re right about drivers ignoring laws that aren’t enforced — just look at how many drivers you see every day talking on cell phones and texting while they drive.

  3. Jim,
    As a civil ordinance, it will be incumbent upon the aggrieved bicyclist to file in court. If they have good evidence (like a photo, a video from a flip cam, plenty of witnesses on the street, etc.) they should have no problem in meeting a civil court’s evidentiary threshold (since it is much lower than a criminal court’s).

    Put another way, enforcement of a civil anti-harassment ordinance is the responsibility of the bicyclist. The language of the ordinance is such that it lowers the barriers for bicyclists to do just that.

  4. Joseph E says:

    I like the anti-harassment ordinance, because it is a uniquely American solution to the problem of bad driver behavior. In Europe, laws and street design influence good behavior. Unfortunately, bikes don’t have enough support from city planning, street services and the police in this area, yet.

    This ordinance allows individuals to get a lawyer and defend their own rights in court – this is America, the land of the lawsuit. Sure, it would be more cost-effective and better for society if streets were designed right for bikes and pedestrians, and if the DMV and police made sure that drivers were responsible thru licensing, fines and the courts. But until we get there, at least this law provides a way for individual bike riders to enforce laws. A few big judgements in court cases may help change public opinion.

  5. AltEater says:

    UC Irvine’s so bike-friendly, they banned bikes from the main path through the campus.

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