In case you missed the news, we approved the second reading of the cyclist anti-harassment ordinance on Tuesday. That means that it will take effect 30 days from now. For the vast majority of you who don’t behave like jerks to cyclists, it doesn’t mean much. But for those of you who do, it means that the cyclists will have additional recourse in civil court if you harass them for simply being a cyclist.
If there was ever any doubt about the need for this, it was erased for me the next day. I was told that one of the strongest proponents of the ordinance was cycling home from that night’s Council meeting (which he’d attended specifically to speak for the ordinance if necessary), when some idiots driving by him decided it would be hilarious to throw a water balloon at him from a car moving at typical residential driving speeds. Apparently they were completely oblivious to the laws of physics, and the fact that the relative speed of the water balloon was the throwing speed PLUS the vehicle speed (plus or minus the cyclist’s own speed). If the ordinance had already been in effect, the cyclist would have had the ability to nail these guys. But not now.
One of my colleagues who supported the ordinance was right on point with his comments – the real goal here should be to provide some safety against all forms of egregious behavior – cars against cyclists, cyclists against pedestrians, whatever. There’s plenty of bad behavior going on out there. But I’m content to pick off the worst offenses one by one, for now.