Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles and Berkeley, the Oakland City Council's public safety committee last night considered a new law that would give cyclists recourse to sue following incidents of road rage or just general automobile aggression on the city's streets.
Council member Libby Schaaf held a press conference Tuesday to announce the proposed legislation, which would give injured or harassed cyclists the ability to collect $1,000 plus legal fees in a civil suit against any driver who was shitty to them. And while cyclists have always been able to file lawsuits and file police reports, Oakland PD don't generally have the bandwidth to investigate such things or prove them beyond a reasonable doubt, as the Chron reports. The new law would at least guarantee the cyclist some reward without the same burden of proof, and would penalize drivers for any sort of verbal or physical abuse directed at cyclists.
As bicycle and pedestrian advocate Christopher Kidd put it, "This law will send a message to rogue drivers that they will be held accountable for their antisocial road behavior."
The City of Los Angeles passed a similar law in 2011 after they've seen a 50% hike in the number of people who commute to work by bike in the last decade. Berkeley proudly followed suit, becoming the second city in the nation with such a law the following year. SF can't be far behind.
Oakland currently has 42 miles of bike lanes and has plans to install 100 more in the coming years.