New Berkeley Law Lets Cyclists Take Harassing Drivers To Court

BERKELEY (KCBS) – Cyclists in Berkeley now have civil recourse against people who harass them.

The new law, which was approved by the Berkeley City Council last month, would allow bicyclists to take drivers to civil court for threats and injuries.

Cyclist Christopher Kidd said he knows firsthand what it’s like to be harassed by a motorist.

“I once had a driver come up beside me in a lane, scream at me to get on the sidewalk and then she proceeded to drift her car over into the space that I was in,” Kidd said. “It forced me into a bank of parked cars.”

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Under the new Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Law, Kidd would have civil recourse against that driver for up to $1,000.

The ordinance doesn’t create new crimes, as it’s already illegal to intentionally force a cyclist off the road. But it does address the difficulty in seeking recourse as there is a lower burden of proof for civil cases.

Dave Campbell, Program Director at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, said the legislation is as much about educating drivers as anything else.

“Bicyclists are entitled to use the roadway and it’s actually safer for them to be using the roadway,” said Campbell.

Berkeley joins Los Angeles as only the second city in the country to provide specific civil recourse for harassed and assaulted cyclists.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Margie Shafer
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  • Bob

    Civil recourse, as in lawsuit. Another step back for society due to the nanny state knowing whats best.

    • Stan

      Bob, how would you propose they deal with this issue?

      • Nanny State

        What issue? There are already laws that govern road usage. But gosh, you just can’t have enough laws can you? You can probably violate 38 Berkeley ordinances in 10 minutes just sitting still in your own living room.

  • Nanny State

    Is there a law against someone looking at you funny? If not, I’m sure there eventually will be.

    Instead of printing law books, why don’t they just publish a single sheet flyer saying what a person is ALLOWED to do there? A few sentences should cover it.

    Berkeley’s new motto: “Got Infraction?”

  • Ken

    Hopefully this doesn’t become like England where you can go to jail by being accused of harassment by a minor with no proof being required.

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