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L.A. OKs Landmark Cyclist Protection Law

Bicyclists on busy city streets got another boost with a new law called the toughest in the nation.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to pass a law Wednesday that protects cyclists from verbal or physical harassment by drivers.

Law Could Be Toughest in the Nation

The ground-breaking law lets harassed cyclists seek damages in civil court—a first.

Under the law, they can recover up to three times the cost of their injury or $1,000—whichever is greater.

They can also recover attorney’s fees, which experts say may make it easier to get legal representation. CD 11 Councilmember Bill Rosendahl sponsored the ordinance, which he said is one of the toughest protecting cyclists in the country.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a number of cyclists showed up at City Hall Wednesday to share stories of harassment before the vote. They described motorists who threw objects, shouted insults and tried to run them off the road.

Stories of Harassment Resonate in Echo Park

Those stories certainly resonate in Echo Park where LAPD’s Rampart Division is still looking for two more suspects after an assault in June on a biker during the World Naked Bike ride.

Late Wednesday, about a 100 cyclists gathered next to Mulholland Fountain on Riverside Drive in Silver Lake for a bike ride up the L.A. River. CD 4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge, an avid biker who voted for the ordinance, led the group.

Addressing the crowd before the ride, LaBonge praised the council for its leadership. Cyclists on the ride seem pleased too. “You have to protect yourself when you go out there,” one said. “It’s nice to know now that there’s an avenue you can pursue.”

Here’s a link to the LA Times coverage of the ordinance and the vote.

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