Sunnyvale considers anti-harassment ordinance

The city council in Sunnyvale, California will consider a Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance at their city council meeting Tuesday night, June 19, 2012.

The proposed Sunnyvale anti-harassment ordinance is modeled on the one adopted recently by Los Angeles. A bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance would make it unlawful to intentionally force or attempt to force a bicyclist from a roadway with the intent to injure or distract the bicyclist simply because they are bicycling. It would subject violators to liability in civil court for damages, fees, and litigation costs. Existing civil and criminal laws are viewed by some as difficult to enforce and lacking specificity and “teeth” on the issue of motorists and others not allowing bicyclists their rightful use of the road.

It allows cyclists to collect triple damages or $1,000 (whichever is greater) along with attorney fees. Sunnyvale’s city attorney believes this rule would be legal under state law. Sunnyvale’s Department of Public Works drafted the ordinance and passed along a recommendation to pass it to the city council.

If you’d like to comment, show up at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at 456 West Olive Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA. You’ll have three minutes to make your point, so be economical with your speech. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley recently passed a similar law.