New law to protect bicyclists in Los Angeles

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New law to protect bicyclists in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (BDCi) – The city of Los Angeles just passed a pioneering law to protect bicyclists. The new regulation makes it a crime for drivers to harass bicyclists, either verbally or physically.

The City Council approved the rule which allows victims of persecution to file civil lawsuits without waiting for the city to press criminal charges on Wednesday. The ordinance is described as the toughest of its kind in the nation.

League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke calls the law “groundbreaking”, saying no other city in the nation offers bicyclists an equivalent civil recourse, reported the Washington Post.

Local census data shows a 50% increase in commuters bicycling to work over the last eight years. So, conflicts between motorists and bicyclists have been growing. Some drivers have accused cyclists of flouting traffic laws, while cyclists have complained that they are treated like second-class citizens.

The new law comes at a good time also since the Los Angeles City Council recently passed an ambitious bicycle master plan that calls for the paving of 200 miles of bike routes every 5 years.

The Los Angeles Times says census figures showed in 2008 that about 13,000 people commute to work on bicycles in L.A.

By: Adrianna Lobo
Editing by: Don Weinstain
Source: Los Angeles Times & Washington Post
July 21, 2011
2:43 p.m. PDT
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