Anti-harassment laws for bicyclists and pedestrians - sample language

Several cities across Missouri, and cities and states across the U.S., have passed laws banning the harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities. 

Road Rage
Road Rage

Passing such a law is one of the strongest steps a city can take to improve conditions for bicycling and walking.  Bicyclists, particularly, are often intimidated by repeated incidents of harassment, sometimes leading them to stop bicycling altogether.

Motorists, motorcyclists, and other people who use the public roadways, such as horseback riders and riders in horse-drawn carts, also benefit from anti-harassment legislation.  Anti-harassment can ban harassment of these road users and also give a specific ordinance banning throwing items from or at moving vehicles--a specific prohibition missing from many Missouri city codes. These steps ensure that the anti-harassment ordinance protects all roads users equally and that the law becomes a tool to help promote civility and reduce road rage among all classes of road users.

Passing a statewide anti-harassment law was identified as one of the very top priorities by our members and supporters and passing a statewide anti-harassment law is one of the very top priorities in MoBikeFed's Legislative Platform.  Passing anti-harassment laws in several cities around Missouri is our initial goal.

In Missouri, anti-harassment laws have been passed by:

1.15 million Missourians currently live in a city protected by an anti-harassment law. The list includes very small, very large, and medium sized cities, as well as urban, suburban, and rural communities. The anti-harassment legislation is important for Missourians in all types of communities and in every part of the state.

Below are sample and model laws from around Missouri and around the U.S.:

MoBikeFed model anti-harassment language

This model text was developed by MoBikeFed's Legislative Committee in collaboration with many interested organizations across Missouri, includes expanded definition of 'pedestrian' and improved definition of bicycle

Download Model Text as a Word file.

MISSOURI ANTI-HARASSMENT BILL - DRAFT TEXT
 

§307.180. Bicycle and motorized bicycle, defined

As used in sections 307.180 to 307.193:

(1) The word “bicycle” shall mean every vehicle propelled solely by pedals, operated by one or more persons, and having two or more wheels, except devices primarily intended for children six years of age or younger;

§304.680 (and in the definition for pedestrian in §300.010)

As used in this chapter, chapter 302, and chapter 307, the term “pedestrian” shall mean:

(a) A person who is afoot.
(b) A person who is using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle.
(c) A person who is using an electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined in section 307.205.
(d) A person who is operating any manual or motorized wheelchair, scooter, tricycle, or similar device designed specifically for use by a physically disabled person to act as a pedestrian.

§304.681. Banning the harassment of pedestrians and bicyclists

1. No person shall:

(1) Knowingly frighten, disturb, or injure a person by throwing or dropping any substance or object at or in the direction of a vehicle or any occupant thereof, a bicycle or any rider or passenger thereof, or a pedestrian; or

(2) Threaten any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle for the purpose of frightening, disturbing, or injuring that person; or

(3) Sound a horn, shout, or otherwise direct sound toward any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle for the purpose of frightening, disturbing, or injuring that person; or

(4) Knowingly place any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

(5) Knowingly engage in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle.

2. For the purpose of this section the word “bicycle” shall be as defined in section 307.180.

3. Penalty. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a class C misdemeanor unless the violation results in property damage or injury in which case it shall be a class A misdemeanor.

Note that the definition of pedestrian is a particularly important part of this text.  This definition specifically includes those who operate wheelchairs and other mobility devices important for people with disabilities, and brings protection of the anti-harassment provisions to these people with disabilities.

Huge thanks to Ian Fisher, law intern with Great Rivers Environmental Law Firm, for major help in researching and drafting this model text.

Wildwood, MO, Sept 2015 - applies equally to all road users, including motorists; includes harassing by driving a vehicle at or in the direction of a person

Download Wildwood ordinance text as a Word file.

WHEREAS, the City of Wildwood has developed an extensive, citywide system of trails and parks which are the result of many years of planning and implementation by the City and have become a valued asset among our residents; and

WHEREAS, the City of Wildwood includes an extensive system of public roadways maintained by the City, St. Louis County or the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission; and

WHEREAS, the City's trail and park system, roadways, sidewalks or other public property are utilized by a variety of users including those riding a bicycle, riding a horse, walking, running, or operating a wheelchair; and

WHEREAS, the City Council, upon the recommendation of the Board of Public Safety, wishes to amend Section 210.030 of the Wildwood Municipal Code to better protect the safety of all users of the trail and park system as well as on roadways, sidewalks or other public property.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WILDWOOD, MISSOURI AS FOLLOWS:

Section One. Section 210.030 of the Wildwood Municipal Code is hereby amended with the addition of Subsection B, to read as follows:

B. A person commits the offense of harassment if that person:

1. Throws an object, directs a projectile, or operates a vehicle (whether motorized or not) at or in the direction of any person using the City's trails, roadways, sidewalks or other public property including those riding a bicycle, riding a horse, walking, running, or operating a wheelchair, for the purpose of frightening, disturbing, or injuring such person; or

2. Threatens to commit bodily harm or to intimidate any person using the City's trails, roadways, sidewalks or other public property including those riding a bicycle, riding a horse, walking, running, operating a wheelchair or occupying a motor vehicle, for the purpose of frightening or disturbing such person; or

3. Knowingly places a person using the City's trails, roadways, sidewalks or other public property, including those riding a bicycle, riding a horse, walking, running, operating a wheelchair or occupying a motor vehicle, in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

4. Recklessly engages in conduct that creates risk of death or serious physical injury to a person using the City's trails, roadways, sidewalks or other public property including those riding a bicycle, riding a horse, walking, running, operating a wheelchair, or occupying a motor vehicle.

St. Louis, MO - includes expanded definition of 'pedestrian' to include people with disabilities using mobility devices

  • St. Louis City ordinance as introduced, May 18th, 2012 (PDF).
  • As adopted, October 19th, 2012 (also available from the St. Louis City web site as a PDF file):
  • BOARD BILL NO.  53 CS     INTRODUCED BY ALDERMAN SCOTT OGILVIE, ALDERMAN SHANE COHN, PRESIDENT LEWIS REED

    An ordinance protecting the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle occupants;  containing definitions; prohibited activities; and a penalty clause.

    BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION ONE: Definitions.

    A. “Bicyclist” means any device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having two  tandem wheels except scooters and similar devices.

    B. “Pedestrian” means 

    (a)  A person who is on foot; or 

    (b)  A person who is using any means of conveyance propelled by human power other than a bicycle; or

    (c)   A person who is using an electric personal assistive mobility device; or

    (d)  A person who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle to act as a pedestrian and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise restricted in movement as or unable to move about on foot.

    C.  "Motor Vehicle" means every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a  roadway, excepting motorized bicycles and devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon rails.

    D.  “Motor Vehicle Occupant” means all persons within a motor vehicle, whether the driver  who is driving the motor vehicle, the person in actual physical control of the motor vehicle, or a passenger not driving or in actual physical control of the motor vehicle.    

    SECTION TWO: Prohibiting the endangerment of pedestrians and bicyclists.

    A person commits the offense of endangerment of a pedestrian, bicyclist or motor vehicle occupant if the person:

    (1) Throws an object, directs a projectile, or operates a vehicle (whether motorized or not)  at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair for the purpose of frightening, disturbing or injuring the person; or

    (2) Threatens any person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair or occupying a motor vehicle for the purpose of frightening or disturbing that person; or

    (3) Knowingly places a person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair or occupying a motor vehicle in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

    (4) Knowingly engages in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to a person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair, or occupying a motor vehicle.

    SECTION THREE. Penalty Clause.

    Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to of a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or a term of imprisonment not more than ninety (90) days or both a fine and term of imprisonment.

Columbia, MO - first law passed in Missouri

Section 16-145 Harassment of a bicyclist, pedestrian or person in a wheelchair.
(a)    A person commits the offense of harassment of a bicyclist , pedestrian or person in a wheelchair  if the person:
    (1)    Knowingly throws an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle , walking, running or operating a wheelchair for the purpose of frightening, disturbing or injuring that person ; or
    (2)    Threatens any person riding a bicycle , walking, running or operating a wheelchair  for the purpose of frightening or disturbing that person; or
    (3)    Sounds a horn, shouts or otherwise directs sound toward any person riding a bicycle , walking, running or operating a wheelchair  for the purpose of frightening or disturbing that person; or
    (4)    Knowingly places a person riding a bicycle , walking, running or operating a wheelchair   in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or
    (5)    Knowingly engages in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to a person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair .
(b)    Harassment of a bicyclist , pedestrian or person in a wheelchair is a Class A misdemeanor.
Direct link to Columbia, Missouri's law.

Rogersville, MO - Third law passed in Missouri, July 2010

Rogersville passed an anti-harassment law in July 2010.  Full text of the Rogersville traffic law can be found here.  The anti-harassment provision is Section 385.055 of the city's Traffic Code (Section 3):

Section 385.055. Harassment of a Bicyclist, Pedestrian or Person in a Wheelchair. [Ord. No. 691, 7­5­ 2010]
A. A person commits the offense of harassment of a bicyclist, pedestrian or person in a wheelchair if the person:

1. Knowingly throws an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair for the purpose of frightening, disturbing or injuring that person; or

2. Threatens any person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair for the purpose of frightening or disturbing that person; or

3. Sounds a horn, shouts or otherwise directs sound toward any person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair for the purpose of frightening or disturbing that person; or

4. Knowingly places a person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or

5. Knowingly engages in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to a person riding a bicycle, walking, running or operating a wheelchair.
B. Harassment of a bicyclist, pedestrian or person in a wheelchair is a Class A misdemeanor.
 

Independence, MO - Fourth law passed in Missouri

SEC. 12.01.017. HARASSMENT OF A BICYCLIST, PEDESTRIAN OR WHEELCHAIR OPERATOR.
No person shall, for the purpose of frightening, disturbing, or injuring any person riding a bicycle, walking, running, or operating a wheelchair:
1. Throw an object at or in such person?s direction; or
2. Threaten such person; or
3. Shout or otherwise direct loud or unusual sounds toward such person; or
4. Knowingly place such person in apprehension of immediate physical danger; or
5. Knowingly engage in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to such person.
 

 

The penalty in Independence is set in Chapter 12 Article 8 of the Independence Municipal Code:

Kansas City, Missouri - Passed in October, 2014

Sec. 50-205. Harassment of a Bicyclist, Pedestrian or Wheelchair Operator

(a) The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them below, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Bicycle means any device upon which a person may ride, which is propelled by human power through a system of belts, chains, or gears, and may include an electric assist motor, and has wheels at least 16 inches in diameter and a frame size of at least 13 inches.

Wheelchair means any manual or motorized device designed specifically for use by a physically disabled person for means of conveyance.

(b) No person shall, for the purpose of frightening or injuring any person riding a bicycle, walking, running, or operating a wheelchair:

(1) Throw an object, direct a projectile, or operate a vehicle at or in such person's direction; or

(2) Threaten such person; or

(3) Sound a horn, shout or otherwise direct loud or unusual sounds toward such person; or

(4) Place such person in apprehension of immediate physical danger; or

(5) Engage in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to such person.

(c) Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be punished for that violation by a fine of not less than $50, but not more than $500 or by imprisonment of not more than 180 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.

About Kansas City's anti-harassment law

Lee's Summit, Missouri - passed October, 2014

Sec. 29-522. – Anti-Harassment of Pedestrians and Bicyclists 
 
Banning the harassment of pedestrians and bicyclists. No person shall: 
 
A. Knowingly frighten, disturb, or injure a person by throwing or dropping any substance or object at or in the direction of a vehicle or any occupant thereof, a bicycle or any rider or passenger thereof, or a pedestrian; or 
 
B. Threaten any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle for the purpose of frightening, disturbing, or injuring that person; or 
 
C. Sound a horn, shout, or otherwise direct sound toward any pedestrian, person  operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle for the purpose of frightening or injuring that person; or 
 
D. Knowingly place any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle in apprehension of immediate physical injury; or 
 
E. Knowingly engage in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury to any pedestrian, person operating a bicycle, or a passenger on a bicycle. 

About the passage of Lee's Summit's anti-harassment law.

South Carolina

SEC. 12.08.001. PENALTIES
A. Any person found guilty of a violation of this chapter of the City Code shall be subject to a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and to incarceration for a term not to exceed six months.

Section 56-5-3445. It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person

riding a bicycle. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction,

must be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both. 

Source: http://www.pccsc.net/pdfs/Summary%20of%20H3006%20Bicycle%20Law%20Revisions.pdf

Colorado

18-9-116. Throwing missiles at vehicles - harassment of bicyclists.
 

(1) Any person who knowingly projects any missile at or against any vehicle or equipment designed for the transportation of persons or property, other than a bicycle, commits a class 1 petty offense.

(2) Any person who knowingly projects any missile at or against a bicyclist commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

(3) As used in this section, "missile" means any object or substance.
 

Source: L. 71: R&RE, p. 471, ? 1. C.R.S. 1963: ? 40-9-117. L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 969, ? 57, effective July 1. L. 2009: Entire section amended, (SB 09-148), ch. 239, p. 1090, ? 7, effective August 5.

 

Illinois


   (e) A person driving a motor vehicle shall not, in a
    reckless manner, drive the motor vehicle unnecessarily
    close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, pedestrian, or a
    person riding a horse or driving an animal drawn vehicle.
    

(f) Every person convicted of paragraph (e) of this
    Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if the
    violation does not result in great bodily harm or permanent
    disability or disfigurement to another. If the violation
    results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or
    disfigurement to another, the person shall be guilty of a
    Class 3 felony.

Full text: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=096-1007

 

LA - Comprehensive model, allows cyclists to bring civil suit--bypassing local police if they are uncooperative

SEC. 45.96.02. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.

A person shall not do or attempt to do any of the following:

A. Physically assault or attempt to physically assault a Bicyclist because of,

in whole or in part, the Bicyclist's status as a Bicyclist.

B. Threaten to physically injure a Bicyclist because of, in whole or in part, the

Bicyclist's status as a Bicyclist.

C. Intentionally injure, attempt to injure, or threaten to physically injure, either

by words, vehicle, or other object, a Bicyclist because of, in whole or in part, the

Bicyclist's status as a Bicyclist.

D. Intentionally distract or attempt to distract a Bicyclist because of, in whole

or in part, the Bicyclist's status as a Bicyclist.

E. Intentionally force or attempt to force a Bicyclist off a street for purposes

unrelated to public safety.

SEC. 45.96.03. REMEDIES.

A. Any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions of this Article by means of a civil lawsuit

B. Any person who violates the provisions of this Article shall be liable for treble the actual damages with regard to each and every such violation, or $1,000, whichever is greater, and shall be liable for reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of litigation. In addition, a jury or a court may award punitive damages where warranted.

C. Notwithstanding Section 11.00(m) of this Code, violations of any of the provisions of this Article shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction, except where such actions, independently of this Article, constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.

D. The remedies provided by the provisions of this Article are in addition to all other remedies provided by law, and nothing in this Article shall preclude any aggrieved person from pursuing any other remedy provided by law.

Full text here: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-2895_RPT_ATTY_06-10-11.pdf

Analysis: http://www.bicycling.com/racing

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