(Note: The Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance will be heard, and hopefully voted on, by the Los Angeles City Council tomorrow. I will be on an airplane, but follow the LACBC’s Twitter Feed for news. We’ll have coverage of some sort on Thursday. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, click here.)
First, the LADOT Bike Blog created a Facebook page for cyclists to tell their stories of being harassed on city streets. Now, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the Councilman who authored and pushed for an anti-harassment ordinance for the City of Los Angeles, is using YouTube to encourage cyclists to tell their story.
The idea is simple. Assuming that Los Angeles passes the anti-harassment legislation tomorrow, other cities and states might choose to follow suit. Los Angeles would be the first government body in the country to create a course of action in civil courts for cyclists harassed or endangered by scofflaw, dangerous, or just unruly drivers. To help make the case to government bodies around the country, Rosendahl has started posting YouTube videos of cyclists talking about their experience on the road. He’s encouraging cyclists to upload their own videos telling their own stories. To get the ball rolling, Rosendahl’s office is hosting a video featuring the LACBC’s Carol Feucht with more on the way, including another by Biking In L.A.’s Ted Rogers.
Think the “It Gets Better” campaign, but for bikes.
Chris Kidd, who has been pushing the ordinance agressively on the LADOT Bike Blog, also weighs in on how cyclists telling their own story can be powerful. “In the abstract, in print, and online, it’s very easy for people to dehumanize and trivialize the harassment suffered by Angelinos who ride their bikes on our City’s streets. Too often, the caricature of a spandexed “cyclist”, a snobby hipster, or a scofflaw youth is cited as some sort of justification to harass people on the roads.” Kidd writes, “We wanted to share peoples’ stories of harassment on Youtube to emphasize the humanity of those who ride bikes; we’re just like everyone else, and are deserving of the same rights and courtesy. In making personal experiences with harassment more “real” through video testimonial, it also becomes that much harder for people not familiar with what bicyclists go through to write off harassment as infrequent or ‘not that bad’.”