Healdsburg CA to consider vulnerable users ordinance

The Healdsburg city council in Sonoma County California will consider a proposal for a vulnerable user ordinance, according to the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition (SCBC). The proposed ordinance allows cyclists and pedestrians to file a civil suit against motorists who harass them and is modeled on similar legislation now in effect in the city of Los Angeles.

The SCBC says the meeting is scheduled for 6 PM on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Healdburg council meetings are normally on Monday nights. I’ve asked for clarification and will post an update when I receive it.

The presentation will be informational only, but it’s still helpful for cyclists to show up and let the council know how you feel about such an ordinance. SCBC has worked aggressively to promote a vulnerable users law throughout the county. Sevastopol became the first Sonoma County city to to adopt this ordinance in December 2012. Berkeley, Sunnyvale, and Los Angeles have similar laws on the books.

Via Sonoma County native Eric Eisenhart.


Model vulnerable users code

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

A person shall not do or attempt to do any of the following:

    A. Physically assault or attempt to physically assault a Vulnerable User because of, in whole or in part, a Vulnerable User’s status as a pedestrian and/or person riding a bicycle.

    B. Threaten to physically injure a Vulnerable User because of, in whole or in part, a Vulnerable User’s status as a pedestrian and/or person riding a bicycle.

    C. Intentionally injure, attempt to injure, or threaten to physically injure, either by words, vehicle, or other object, a Vulnerable User because of, in whole or in part, a Vulnerable User’s status as a pedestrian and/or person riding a bicycle.

    D. Intentionally distract or attempt to distract a Vulnerable User because of, in whole or in part, a Vulnerable User’s status as a pedestrian and/or person riding a bicycle.

    E. Intentionally force or attempt to force a Vulnerable User off a street for purposes unrelated to public safety.

    F. Intentionally pass a Vulnerable User at an unsafe distance.

    G. Intentionally fail to yield to a pedestrian walking or running along the roadway, crossing the roadway, or using a public sidewalk in order to intimidate or intentionally injure the pedestrian.

REMEDIES

    A. Any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions of this Article by means of a civil lawsuit.

    B. Any person who violates the provisions of this Article shall be liable for treble 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.

    C. Violations of any of the provisions of this Article shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction, except where such actions, independently of this Article, constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.

    D. The remedies provided by the provisions of this Article are in addition to all other remedies provided by law, and nothing in this Article shall preclude any aggrieved person from pursuing any other remedy provided by law.