I just received an e-mail from Missouri Bicycle Federation Executive Director Brent Hugh saying that the Columbia bicyclist harassment ordinance passed unanimously in the city council yesterday. Here is the text of the ordinance:
Sec. 16-145. Harassment of a bicyclist.
(a) A person commits the offense of harassment of a bicyclist if the
(1) Knowingly throws an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle; or
(2) Threatens any person riding a bicycle for the purpose of frightening or disturbing the person riding the bicycle; or
(3) Sounds a horn, shouts or otherwise directs sound toward any person riding a bicycle for the purpose of frightening or disturbing the person riding the bicycle; or
(4) Knowingly places a person riding a bicycle in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or
(5) Knowingly engages in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to the person riding a bicycle.
(b) Harassment of a bicyclist is a Class A misdemeanor.
A Class A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to $1000 fine and up to one
I am glad to see the City of Columbia pass this ordinance. Perhaps we can convince a councilman here in Springfield to introduce one like it.
I’m good with all of these provisions except #3. How can intent be determined? Who gets to determine it? And by what criteria? I’m certainly not suggesting that bicyclists are not victims of exactly this kind of intentional harassment sometimes. I just wonder what kind of a mess it will be trying to convince a police officer (and a judge) that a honk was harassment. The verbal part may be easier to prove depending upon the rhetoric.
I’m also wondering about the laws already on the books in the State of Missouri re #1:
Here are some more resources provided by Hugh:
See media coverage from around the state:
Video of the city council meeting (debate on the bicycle harassment
ordinance went on for about 90 minutes):
You might spend some time reading the comments to some of these articles and columns. Scary stuff.
I’ll say it again: Road users are human beings, not objects.
The Sustainable Transporation Committee of Ozark Greenways meets tomorrow night. I’ll bring this up unless someone beats me to it.