Sonoma County Supervisors look at stronger cyclist protection

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously endorsed studying a proposed ordinance that would make it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to sue drivers who intentionally threaten and harass them.

The board backed a recommendation to spend up to $5,000 to study the proposal, with the intent to possibly bring it back later for a vote.

The ordinance would define various forms of harassment against cyclists and pedestrians and would triple monetary penalties, making such cases more attractive to attorneys.

Supporters say it could help rein in hostility toward cyclists and pedestrians and afford those road users the ability to recoup damages not currently available in civil court.

"It increases access to justice," said Sandra Lupien, outreach director for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, the advocacy group promoting the ordinance.

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