St. Louis City passes bicyclist/pedestrian anti-harassment ordinance

Congratulations to Trailnet and Paraquad, two St. Louis area advocacy organizations that worked with Alderman Scott Ogilvie to pass an anti-harassment ordinance protecting bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities.

Road Rage
Road Rage

In a recent survey of our members, harassment was identified as one of the very top priorities of bicyclists and pedestrians in Missouri. Survey respondents strongly supported proposals for anti-harassments ordinances. Cyclists, in particular, feel threatened and endangered by harassment. In response that that survey, we have worked with bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group across the state to develop a strategy to pass anti-harassment ordinances in cities across the state.  We would like to see a statewide anti-harassment ordinance adopted as well.

The 4th Anti-Harassment Ordinance in Missouri

Columbia passed the state's first anti-harassment ordinance in 2009, followed by Greenwood and Independence in 2010. St. Louis becomes the fourth Missouri city--and by far the largest--to pass an anti-harassment ordinance.

Momentum in support of anti-harassment policies is growing across Missouri. If you would like to encourage your own city council member to introduce an anti-harassment ordinance, sample ordinance language is available here.

Trailnet's announcement is below, and below that the full text of the St. Louis ordinance as passed by the Board of Aldermen Friday.

Safe Streets Policy Passed for St. Louis City

St. Louis, MO – Trailnet, Paraquad, and Alderman Scott Ogilvie have created a Safe Streets ordinance that will protect people who walk and bike from endangerment and assault. Board Bill 53 passed through the Board of Alderman today, Friday, October 19. Bill co-sponsors included Alderman Shane Cohn and President Lewis Reed.  

The policy started as an Anti-Harassment ordinance that was introduced by Alderman Ogilvie on National Bike to Work Day, May 18, 2012. Through the policy process, we were able to add extra protections that explicitly make it illegal to threaten or place in danger any user of the road, be they walking, biking or driving. This includes throwing objects at people and knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury.

The ordinance changed the outdated St. Louis City definition of pedestrian as “a person afoot” to one that encompasses all forms of locomotion including the use of mobility assistance devices. Trailnet partnered with Paraquad to craft the new definition. Full text of the ordinance can be found at http://trailnet.org/advocacy/policy.

“There have been too many people killed or injured while walking or biking due to crashes with motor vehicles. We have to do better.” states Rhonda Smythe, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at Trailnet.

 - Yesterday (October 18, 2012) at 5:20pm, Trailnet Rides Manager Steve Schmidt was hit by a taxi cab van while biking home from work, and seriously injured at 8thand Washington in downtown St. Louis. The police report has not been released. He is in stable condition.

 - On February 3, 2012, Samuel Scott was bicycling home from work at Dewey’s Pizza Shop in University City when he was hit by a driver who was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. Sam died shortly thereafter.

 - Multiple children in the city and county have been hit by cars while walking to school this year.

In 2011, there were 210 pedestrian and 72 bicycle crashes in St. Louis City alone.

Trailnet is working with policymakers, the police force, and St. Louis City officials to create safer streets through infrastructure improvements, education, training, and policy, but these changes can take years to implement and show benefits. Trailnet strives to raise awareness among every person who drives, bikes, walks, and votes. The extra 5 seconds it takes to check mirrors, slow down at crosswalks, or stop at stop signs can save lives. Crashes can significantly decrease with proper focus and attention on the road.

Trailnet encourages everyone to support political candidates who actively advocate to keep people safe no matter their mode of transportation. Alderpeople and city officials are able to make immediate physical changes to our neighborhoods that would increase the safety of people walking and biking. Trailnet will be publishing a candidate scorecard for the April elections in St. Louis City on our local policymakers’ record of supporting safe streets for all.

This is more than a citywide effort – there is a regional effort across the state to create safe streets for all modes of transportation. Trailnet is one of many advocacy groups working with the Missouri Bike Federation to pass policies statewide that would ensure the safety of every person on the road.

The hearing to set a trial date for the driver charged in the Samuel Scott case is next Friday, October 26, 2012 at 9:00am, at the St. Louis County Court Building at 7900 Carondelet Avenue in Clayton, MO. Updates will be posted at http://trailnet.org/2014/04/05/advocacy-alert-anti-bike-legislation-introduced/.

Full text of Board Bill #53, passed by the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen on Friday, October 19th, 2012, and now awaiting the Mayor's signature (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.

 

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