Councilman Wade's statement with reasons for suspending Columbia's bicyclist harassment ordinance

Columbia Councilman Jerry Wade has weighed in with his analysis of the bicyclist harassment ordinance recently passed (unanimously) by the Columbia City Council--and the reasons he now wants to suspend it for six months:
Change is usually the product of a sincere, committed, small group of people who push the margins. However, the changes must be allowed to integrate into the dominant culture. If the changes become too numerous and/or extreme, there will be a reaction. If the reaction is strong enough, it will at the very least stop any further actions and may even reverse some that have occurred.

We are at that point now. If accepting a second stage grant were put to the vote of the citizenry, it would fail.

The ordinance does not make it better, it makes it worse. It is not good for bicyclists. It is not good for motorists. It does not contribute to the vision of creating a biking and walking friendly community.

What can be done to change the polarization and return to GetAboutColumbia being a positive part of a better Columbia?
Read the full Columbia Missourian article for Wade's suggestions about how to proceed.

Ian Thomas of the PedNet Coalition published a response to the "controversy" over the bicyclist harassment ordinance. As Thomas points out, the entire controversy is really very much overblown, with a few people worrying that the law says something it doesn't even say:
Readers and columnists have expressed alarm about the Columbia City Council's June 15 approval of the so-called "Bicyclist Harassment Ordinance." But the new law will have no affect on 99.99% of motorists.

The outlawed activities are (1) to KNOWINGLY throw an object at a cyclist or otherwise put the cyclist at risk of physical injury or death, or (2) to threaten the cyclist with voice or horn FOR THE PURPOSE OF FRIGHTENING OR DISTURBING the cyclist. Police officers understand very clearly the difference between these intentional activities and other perfectly legitimate uses of the voice or horn. True harassment, as defined by the law, is quite rare (there may only be a handful of offenders in the area), but when it happens, it is very frightening - often resulting in injury and occasionally in death.

While supporting the new law, the PedNet Coalition also supports the ticketing and prosecution of cyclists who run stop signs and red lights, ride at night without lights, ride against traffic or break other traffic laws. PedNet worked closely with the Columbia Police Department last fall to implement "Operation Share the Road" - a targeted enforcement of traffic laws on cyclists. We continue to educate and advocate for safe streets and fair enforcement of the law for all users of our transportation system.
If you live in Columbia and would like to weigh in with your city council member about this issue before the council takes action in the next week or so, you can find the contact information here.

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