The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday formally approved a local ordinance aimed to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to sue those who harass or intimidate them. The ordinance is modeled on similar laws adopted by several cities, including Sebastopol, which passed its ordinance in December. Sonoma County becomes the first county nationwide to adopt such a measure.
Sebastopol became the first city in Sonoma County and one of few in the nation to pass an ordinance that makes it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to sue drivers who threaten or harass them.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed studying a proposed ordinance that would make it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to sue drivers who intentionally threaten and harass them. The board backed a recommendation to spend up to $5,000 to study the proposal, with the intent to possibly bring it back later for a vote.
A Sonoma woman who was seriously injured in 2009 when she was hit on a sidewalk by a 13-year-old boy on a bicycle has settled her lawsuit against the teen and his parents for $1.4 million, her attorney said. The city of Sonoma also was named as a defendant and will have to pay $250,000 as part of the settlement, in what amounts to a test of the city’s ordinance — apparently unusual among Bay Area cities — that allows bicyclists to ride on sidewalks with few restrictions.
Bicycle advocates unveiled a proposed local ordinance Friday meant to arm cyclists and pedestrians with new legal ammunition against drivers who intentionally threaten and harass them.
The proposal from the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition would make it easier for ‘vulnerable users’ to sue drivers in civil court. It defines various forms of harassment and triples monetary penalties, making cases more attractive to attorneys.
It’s intended to fill perceived gaps in criminal prosecution, which has a higher standard of proof and requires such things as as the positive identification of the driver.
New developments in Santa Rosa may be required to provide additional parking spaces for bicycles — and showers for bicyclists, too — under new zoning rules to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday night. The changes are intended to make it easier for people to bike to work.
Motorists will be required to give bicyclists three feet of clearance when passing if Gov. Jerry Brown approves legislation now on his desk. The proposed law has extensive backing from the Sonoma County bicycling community, which sees it as an opportunity to educate motorists as well as provide some protection to cyclists on the area’s windy, narrow roads.
As part of its effort to make Sonoma Avenue safer for cyclists, the city of Santa Rosa has installed “sharrows” on a three-block stretch of the busy road east of Montgomery Village. A sharrow — a combination of the words “shared lane” and “arrow” — identifies stretches of the road where vehicles and bicyclists may need to share the lane in a single file because there isn’t enough room for both to travel side-by-side. Will it work?
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board members examined a series of cuts Wednesday to shrink the agency’s $109 million shortfall. Petaluma and Novato officials are lobbying SMART to save two proposed commuter rail stations in their cities. The board is poised to decide their fate at its next meeting on April 20.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board reviewed $106 million in cost-cutting measures on Tuesday, including deferring train stations in Petaluma and Novato, reducing the number of rail cars and trimming a bicycle-pedestrian path. One thing is not on the table: It still plans to start service in 2014. “This project is still worth doing,” said Charles McGlashan, vice chairman of the SMART board.