Over the past two months, two new laws have expanded safety and access rights for oft-neglected users of the road, bike riders.
In Berkeley, a new "anti-harassment law gives riders the option of filing a civil suit against any driver who assaults, threatens, injures, or intentionally (and maliciously) distracts them." Modeled after a similar law passed in Los Angeles last September that expands on potential penalties for harassment beyond merely criminal remedies, offenders would be subjected to costly fines.
Nearby, in the city of San Francisco, an updated version of New York's "Bikes in Buildings" law of 2009 is expected to be signed into law shortly. "The ordinance will compel commercial property owners to permit bikes inside the building unless there's "secure alternate covered off-street parking" on the premises, or unless unique circumstances related to elevator safety merit an exemption."
These two laws may not mark the beginning of a nationwide trend, but they represent an important start in providing long-overdue rights for bicyclists, declares Jaffe.