Sunnyvale passes 1st reading bicycle harassment ordinance

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: This ordinance is not yet law — it passed its initial hearing, but a second reading and passage is required before it becomes city law. Thank you to a staffer from the city of Sunnyvale communications office for providing the correction.

On Tuesday, the Sunnyvale City Council passed a cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, sponsored by the Sunnyvale Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Light just turned green

The Sunnyvale ordinance is modeled after a similar ordinance passed last year in Los Angeles, which makes 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.

The Sunnyvale measure was approved by the council passed its initial reading on a 6-1 vote, with council member Jim Davis dissenting. No one spoke in opposition, and Davis didn’t explain his negative vote. The council motion also directed staff to publicize the new ordinance in order to put on notice any motorists who may be tempted to react with aggression when they encounter cyclists.

If this ordinance passes, Sunnyvale becomes the second Bay Area city with a bicycle harassment ordinance on the books. Berkeley passed a similar law last February.

Want to pass this in your own city? Feel free to contact Sunnyvale BPAC member Kevin Jackson for advice, and ask your city’s BPAC to take this on. Comment below and I’ll pass your message along to Mr Jackson.


  1. Actually,  Council has NOT passed the ordinance. This was the first reading of the proposed ordinance. The must be a second reading, most likely at the next Council meeting, after which time, if passed, it would go into effect 30 days later.  — City of Sunnyvale Communications Office.

  2. It’s so gratifying to see the ordinance I worked on in LA making inroads in the bay area.  Providing bicyclists with the tools to defend themselves against actions that are already illegal, while letting them bypass a criminal court system that is often overburdened and historically unsympathetic to bicyclists’ travails, is really a win-win for everyone.  

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