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Proposed Ordinance Looks at Making Roads Safer for Cyclists

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss a plan to triple fines for drivers who threaten cyclists and make it easier for cyclists to recoup medical and other expenses

This Tuesday, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will discuss a proposed ordinance that would triple penalties for drivers who intentionally threaten or harass cyclists, the Press Democrat is reporting.

The proposal is being spearheaded by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition in an effort to prevent harassment from drivers after a lethal summer for cyclists.

"This is about sending a message that we take care of our bicyclists and pedestrians and protect them," Supervisor Shirlee Zane, told the paper.

Five Sonoma County cyclists were killed this year after being struck by cars, a trend that advocates say requires action. The hope is that the new ordinance would make drivers give cyclists more room on roads and not view them as a nuisance.

It would also define harassment against cyclists and make it easier for cyclists to recoup expenses for damaged equipment and medical bills.

The discussion is limited to whether the proposal warrants further study. If so, the board would vote on an ordinance sometime over the next few months.

What do you think of the proposed ordinance? Will it prevent car vs. bicycle accidents? Share your thoughts below.

The Fool November 15, 2012 at 05:38 AM
It's not a question of bikers not just following the rules. C'mon, talking about blaming the victim... Of course some bicyclists don't follow the rules. The attitude of many of you seems to be, well, so a few die, that's what you get for running a stop sign...Seriously? Why don't car drivers---like myself--look in the mirror, so to speak? In other words, don't car drivers violate the rules of the road, and far more often? To use the "logic" presented above, the roads should be closed to cars. More to the point, we do far more to accelerate climate change and the hidden health costs of air pollution than bikes. When will the angry auto drivers above start accepting their responsibility for the harms us drivers all cause than to blame a few aggressive idiots or stop sign runners. Talk about missing the point, y'all...
John Pecoraro November 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I agree with Ned that the problem is on both sides of the issue. When I cycle I stop at all stop signs and lights, and I am extra cautious when a motorist is approaching because I never know if they intend to stop as well or just blow right on through. Unfortunately, we now live in a society of self-absorbed and self- entitled people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. EVERYONE needs to slow the pace and be a little nicer out there on the roads. Oh, and by the way, maybe some of you haven't heard... most of us don't wear 'spandex' or 'Styrofoam' helmets any more --- cyclist & cycling have evolved. Cycling used to be something to do on a Sunday afternoon with the family. Today it has become a responsible way to commute and fun way to exercise. It is here to stay just like texting and the internet. Once this is acknowledged we can move past pointing fingers and stop the poo flinging over who is entitled to ride the roads.
mikeg55 November 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM
When you have a car vs. a bike, I'm sorry but it is the cyclist who has to be the better person. The car might get a big fine, but the cyclist can lose their life. While driving, cyclist following the rules and not causing a problem are easy to ignore and everybody's happy. But when the jerky bicyclists are riding in the middle of the road and refuse to pull over, or flip you off when you give a little horn tap when they are riding 2 or 3 across and blocking your lane, more aggressive drivers might devolve into road rage. Being a cocky biker can make you a dead biker.
The Fool November 16, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Mikeg55, you're right. And your logic also holds true for motorcyclists. The two-wheeled must always assume the four wheeled is death to be. That is the sad reality behind "defensive-biking." What concerns me, however, is there seems to be confusion between being cautious because of inattentive drivers and the inherent, "might makes right" approach that says that somehow, bicyclists deserve what they get. All bicyclists need to be careful. But any deviation from the utmost care on the part of car drivers is negligent and possibly criminally so.
Jayme Peta February 06, 2013 at 06:58 PM
An effort in the county to create more paved bike paths, more bike commuter lanes and more clearly marked safe shoulders for bikes to travel on could increase bike commuting and safety and reduce the ways in which bikes and cars have to interact. A "bike culture" can really help increase safety by making everyone aware of cyclists and giving cyclists a way to get distance from cars. When cycling replaces car use in running errands or commuting, you increase the health of your community while reducing emissions and traffic. Every town should be investing in bike safety and bike lanes if they want a healthier, more sustainable and more FUN community!

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