Breaking news: L.A.’s groundbreaking bike anti-harassment ordinance passes full City Council

L.A.’s first-of-it’s-kind ordinance to protect cyclists from harassment by motorists by making it a civil violation has passed the full City Council by a unanimous vote. Now the measure goes to the Mayor’s office for his signature, which is expected. You can download the full ordinance here; no word on when it will go into effect.

There is no overstating just how important this innovative new law is. For once, L.A. is leading the way in protecting the rights of cyclists with an ordinance that is likely to be copied by cities around the world

The hearing for the ordinance lasted just 40 minutes, with moving comments from a number of cyclists and council members, including District 11th District Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who has shepherded the measure from its inception — and who learned to ride a bike again just two weeks ago after a break of over 40 years.

But Council President Eric Garcetti may have said it best when he suggested that this ordinance may be what it takes to move L.A. from Carmegeddon to Cycletopia.

Unfortunately, any urge to celebrate this important win is tempered by news of last night’s fatal bike collision Downtown — sources at City Hall tell me police have ruled out road rage as the cause — as well as news of two other SoCal cycling fatalities, and confirmation of the previously reported fatality in Santa Maria earlier this week.

I’ll try to catch up will all the news as quickly as I can.

Meanwhile, come out and join the LACBC Board of Directors at our annual public meeting at the Encino Velodrome to celebrate the victory and discuss what we can do to prevent more tragedies.

BAC Chair Emeritus Alex Baum and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl take questions surrounded by cyclists after the unanimous vote.

12 comments

  1. Mike says:

    The effective date is a matter of law under the L.A. City Charter (§§ 250-252). The mayor has 10 days to sign it. It then has to be published by the city clerk. Publication occurs by publishing it in a daily paper unless the ordinance provides otherwise. This particular ordinance give the additional option of posting it for 10 days in three named locations. The ordinance becomes effective 31 days after publication. So we’re probably talking about 5-6 weeks.

  2. [...] the ordinance from the week – LAist (twice), Curbed LA, LA Now, The Source, Streetsblog LA, Biking in LA, LA Daily News (re-run in the Contra Costa Times), and Blog Downtown.  We’ll add more links [...]

  3. Cyclelicious says:

    [...] Los Angeles law allows cyclists to take civil action against motorists who threaten them. More at Streetsblog [...]

  4. Wes Oishi says:

    Alex Baum looks good. He and Raymond Fouquet (founder of La Grange) are best of friends and would sit together at every Saturday race at Encino Velodrome. He’s done more for bike riding than anyone……and keeps on going! Amazing gentleman.

    • bikinginla says:

      You’re right about Alex. He got a couple of very well-deserve shout outs during the council session from Rosendahl and LaBonge.

  5. True Freedom says:

    I mounted a GoPro Hero HD cam on my bike. Now, if there are ever any issues, I’ll have irrefutable evidence in the form of HD video.

    • Louie says:

      (Laughing.) Me too! I was going to post about it but didn’t want to sound too much like an advertisment. I was debating if I should wear it on my helmet (so I can point it where I need to) or mount it rearward facing on my seatpost (since 80% of all collisions come from the rear- Thanks for that info Ted). But I broke down, sucked it up & bought a second Hero and covered both bases.

      It’s kind of like a parachute huh? Nice to have but you hope you’ll never use it.

      • bikinginla says:

        I’ve been holding off for a more aero design that I can mount on my helmet so it will focus wherever I look. The Hero offers great video quality, but looks kind of clunky in terms of drag. Let me know how it works for you both, and feel free to share the results on here.

        And Louie, you’re right about the parachute idea. Wish I’d had one today when a woman tried to drive her SUV into the bike lane on Ohio to get around stalled traffic — without noticing that I was in it at the time. And somehow, she thought I was the bad guy for yelling a warning to keep her from hitting me.

        Go figure, huh?

  6. Venizen says:

    Bicyclists will start being responsible users of the road when they are held to the rules of responsible road use, as we expect driver to be, and as this law requires..
    Ex: every bike going against traffic in the street should be a ticket, and every ticket should count for the same points as if the person had been driving a car.
    How many points for driving a car down Olympic the wrong way? For blowing a stop sign. For driving through a pedestrian crosswalk occupied by peds? And those were just today, on the drive to work.

    • bikinginla says:

      That’s nice. And did you happen to count how many drivers did those same things?

      And I’m sure on your drive to work, you observed the speed limit, signaled all turns and lane changes, and came to a full stop at every stop sign and red light, right?

      Right?

      We live in a society where most people break traffic laws on a semi-regular basis. Pointing out one group or another for violating the law does no one any good; everyone needs to ride and drive safely and obey the law.

      As for your suggestion, feel free to assign all the points you want for cycling violations. Bicyclists aren’t required to have licenses, because our vehicles pose little risk to other people, unlike cars. So assigning points for violations would be meaningless.

      You also seem to have missed the point of this ordinance. It has nothing whatsoever to do with traffic violations, whether by cyclists or drivers. It has to do with potentially life-threatening harassment of people who are legally entitled to be on the road.

      Unless you threaten the safety of cyclists, this law will never apply to you.

  7. […] eventually passed a first-of-its-kind ordinance treating the harassment of cyclists as a civil violation, and allowing riders to take violators to […]

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