Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance Now Law

Update 3 : Here’s a round-up of links covering the ordinance from the week – The Los Angeles Times, LAist (twice), Curbed LA, LA Now, The Source, Streetsblog LA (more than a few times), Biking in LA, LA Daily News (re-run in the Contra Costa Times), Flying Pigeon LA, and Blog Downtown, San Fernando Valley Sun, NBC Los Angeles.

Nationally: Washington Post, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, ETA (UK)

We’ll add more links as they’re published.

Update 2 : The official language of the ordinance is available on the City Clerk’s website here.

In total, 11 speakers came up to speak on the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance, and all but one were supportive of the ordinance. Afterwards, Council Members Koretz, Rosendahl, LaBonge, Garcetti, Reyes, and Cardenas all spoke in favor of the ordinance.  Many important points were made by the council members and public speakers alike. Some of the highlights:

  • Council Member Koretz tried bicycling for the first time in 15 years during Carmageddon and was promptly harassed while on the road.  This type of behavior, he correctly observed, is what keeps prospective riders from getting out on the streets.
  • Council Member Reyes made the argument that many of Los Angeles’ bicyclists have to do so because of economic necessity.  Finding ways to protect them also protects their livelihoods and LA’s economy.
  • Attorney and bicyclist Ross Hirsch got the “visual aide award” for bringing his two sons up to the podium with him, urging the City Council to adopt the ordinance so that his sons might ride to school safely.
  • Ted Rogers of Biking in LA recounted the same story that he earlier told for Bill Rosendahl’s Youtube Channel.
  • Council Member Garcetti imagined a day where instead of “Carmageddon”, we might have a “Cycletopia”.
  • In a clear example of who the ordinance would benefit, CM Tom LaBonge asked for everyone in council chambers who had ridden a bike in Los Angeles in the last month to stand.  Over 90% of the room left their seats, making clear that this ordinance is a step in the right direction for everyone.
  • CM Cardenas lauded the efforts to “put teeth into the law”.  He made clear that what the ordinance really addresses is the “so what?” attitude that a small number of drivers take towards the rights of bicyclists.
  • CM Rosendahl noted the precedent-setting nature of this ordinance.  He pointed out that a lot of eyes around the nation are on Los Angeles right now, and we have the chance to inspire other cities to provide similar protections to their citizens.

The bike racks outside City Hall were well-used today

Update 1 : The Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance passed with a unanimous 12-0 vote at City Council. More details to come.

The Los Angeles City Council meets today at 10:00 AM and the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is scheduled for item #19. Since regular working folks won’t have the ability to attend today’s council meeting, we’re going to provide play-by-play at council by live-tweeting the proceedings from the BikeBlogChris twitter handle. We’re using the hashtags #bikeLA and #lamtg, so feel free to join in the conversation throughout the day.

You can also call the Council Phone system to listen in or stream the proceedings live on your computer.

We’ll leave you with one more excellent video put together by Bill Rosendahl’s office, this time interviewing Ted Rogers, the excellent author of the Biking in LA blog. We’ll have an update later today with the results of the council vote.


9 replies
  1. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    This is a small step towards increasing bicycling in Los Angeles.

    Another very hopeful sign in the meeting was when Council member Rosendahl and Koretz both mentioned bicycling recently after years of being away from it. This is great, as we need to have council members who can relate to what is needed for bicycling to grow in this city.

    Great reporting Chris!

  2. David Hartson
    David Hartson says:

    This ordinance had to be signed by the mayor before it would become law. I cannot find anything online that reports the mayor signed it, or what the ordinance number was. Can we have another update?

    • David Hartson
      David Hartson says:

      My mistake: The ordinance was approved by the mayor on July 25, 2011, and became law on September 5, 2011. It is Ordinance No. 181817, and is codified at LA Muni Code Ch. IV, Article 5.10.

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    Aren’t there already enough laws to protect people? Isn’t it illegal to harrass people anyway? More laws that are not enforced will just make us all a little less free.

    • criticalchris
      criticalchris says:

      Rick, how are we “free” of oppression, threats of force, coercion, and bullying from violent criminals if we cannot afford access to competent legal representation to address our disputes in civil courts of law? This law creates real incentivizes for victims to be competently represented, why would you be against that? Do you seriously believe that the existing criminal justice system can address this problem?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] all of the positive things happening for bike commuters in Los Angeles will trickle down past the “orange […]

  2. […] “Prohibition Against Harassment of Bicyclists,” which passed by an unanimous 12-0 vote, actually goes much further than “harassment.” [See complete ordinance […]

  3. […] Today the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that increases the financial penalties agains… According to the verbiage of the new law, via the LADOT’s Bike Blog, anyone found in violation of the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance–including those who physically assault a cyclist, threaten to do so, intentionally distract a cyclist, or force a bike off the road– “shall be liable for [three times] the actual damages with regard to each and every such violation, or $1,000, whichever is greater, and shall be liable for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation. In addition, a jury or a court may award punitive damages where warranted.” Meanwhile, the LAPD just released a driver who allegedly killed a bicyclist in a road rage incident. [The Source] […]

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