Tag: Sonoma County

Santa Rosa, CA passes anti-harassment statute

The city council in Santa Rosa, the county seat for Sonoma County in California, unanimously passed an cyclist and pedestrian anti-harassment law yesterday after the city police department and city attorney endorsed the ordinance.

The law, which will take effect on August 10, allows cyclists and pedestrians to file a civil suit against those who assault, threaten, or force them off of the road. The cyclist or pedestrian can sue for up to treble damages or $1000, whichever is greater.

The city of Santa Rosa is now the second and largest city in Sonoma County to pass an anti-harassment ordinance. The city of Sebastopol passed a similar law in December 2012. The county passed their own anti-harassment ordinance in March 2013 that covers unincorporated parts of Sonoma County. The Sonoma County cities of Windsor and Healdsburg considered and rejected similar legislation for their towns.

The law is modeled on legislation passed in the city of Los Angeles in 2011. Other California cities with similar laws on the books now include the San Francisco Bay Area cities of Berkeley and Sunnyvale.

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition made adoption of this anti-harassment law countwide a goal for their organization after an Oakmont man intentionally ran down a cyclist in a road rage incident in the summer of 2012. The 82-year-old man who was convicted in that case, Harry Smith, will serve his sentence wearing an ankle bracelet at a private senior living facility with a dementia program.

Read more in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. H/T to Murph.

Sonoma County first in nation to pass vulnerable users ordinance

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.

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.


Sebastopol California adopts vulnerable road user law

The Sebastopol California city council voted to adopt Sonoma County’s first vulnerable users law after several cyclists testified on the need for such a law last night. The proposed city law, which is based on model code provided by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, allows cyclists and pedestrians to sue those who “intentionally injure, attempt to injure, or threaten to physically injure” them for $1000 or up to treble actual damages, whichever is greater, in addition to litigation costs. A jury or judge may also additional award punitive damages.