The Sonoma County (California) Board of Supervisors became the first county in the nation to pass a -vulnerable users- cyclist anti-harassment ordinance when the Board voted unanimously for the legislation earlier today on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
The new law allows cyclists and pedestrians to file suit against motorists who physically assault them or attempt to assault them. Further prohibitions on attempting injury, threatening injury, intentionally distracting, or intentionally forcing a cyclist or pedestrian off of the street allows the person to sue for monetary damages, legal fees, and any other or additional relief the court deems appropriate.
Unlike similar legislation now on the books in the cities of Los Angeles, Sunnyvale, Berkeley and Sebastopol, California, the county ordinance places no limits on the monetary damages.
This new ordinance takes effect 30 days after today. The Sonoma Ordinance applies only to unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. Several cities within the county are considering similar laws that would be applicable within their municipal boundaries.
Sonoma County is one of the nine counties making up the San Francisco Bay Area. Road cycling is a tremendously popular activity.
For more information, read this update from the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, which has spearheaded the effort to get this law passed.