Two Steps or Three? Timeline for Cyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance Heads to Full Council

1_15_10_die_in.jpgLast year's "die-in" was about more than the tragic death of Jesus Castillo. It was about a group of people that feel unprotected on the street.

Livable Streets advocates could have a full day in City Hall this Wednesday.

At the 10:00 A.M. full City Council meeting the Council will decide between competing reports between Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl and Public Safety Committee Chair Greig Smith when it comes to moving legislation banning the harassment of cyclists.  At 2:00 P.M., Rosendahl's Transportation Committee will decide the fate of three ordinances that will increase speed limits on three streets.  Streetsblog will have more on the speeding ordinances tomorrow morning.

One of the centerpieces of Rosendahl's bicycle agenda has been the creation and drafting of an ordinance banning the harassment of cyclists.  Given that the California Vehicle Code dominates laws regarding local roads, there is question about how much the city can do on top of state protections.  The Transportation Committee, in a room full of cyclists, voted to ask the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance with specific rules, regulations and punishments regarding cyclist and pedestrian harassment by automobile drivers. 

In a room with three cyclists, the City Council Public Safety Committee voted to ask the City Attorney to prepare a report on what a law regarding the protection of cyclists from harassment would look like so they could decide whether or not to ask them to prepare a new law for consideration.

On Wednesday, the City Council will choose between the two committee reports.  The basic difference between the two?  The process spelled out by the Transportation Committee is a two-step process, first an ordinance is created, then voted on by the Council.  The one by Public Safety adds a third step at the beginning: first a report on possible ordinances is created, then an ordinance is written, then the Council votes.

Traditionally, items that have had a hearing in committee are not open to public comment.  If cyclists are present, you can take to the bank that Rosendahl will motion to re-open the record.