St. Louis Bicycle Accident Lawyer on New Missouri Ordinance That Protects Cyclists

By June 19, 2009Traffic Safety

The other day, I came across an article about a new city ordinance on bicycle safety that passed unanimously in Columbia, Missouri. The ordinance specifies that a motorist commits the class A misdemeanor of harassment if he or she verbally threatens a cyclist, sounds a horn with the aim of frightening or disturbing the cyclist, purposely throws an object at a cyclist, or knowingly engages in conduct that puts the cyclist’s life at risk. The misdemeanor is punishable by a $1,000 fine or one year in jail.
What makes this new ordinance interesting to me as a Missouri auto accident lawyer is that it focuses on motorists curbing their road rage. Road rage is, of course, commonly known as a cause of traffic accidents. And when the accident involves a car and a bicyclist, guess who usually wins? It is true that cyclists frequently disobey traffic laws — not unlike motorists — but airing your frustration by throwing things at bike riders, or worse, is dangerous to everyone and too often results in unintended tragedy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Recent data shows that the 698 bicyclist deaths in 2007 accounted for two percent of all traffic fatalities with an additional 44,000 injured in traffic crashes.”
An even more interesting fact the story brought up was how many cyclists could, but choose not to, press charges for injuries that come as the result of such harassment. Columbia citizens are hoping that cyclists who have been the victims of such injuries or trauma will be emboldened by the new ordinance. According to the Columbia Tribune, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton said “People that are pushing the envelope, getting close to assault without assaulting someone would be covered under the ordinance… As far as the ‘prosecutability,’ for lack of a better word, we’ll just have to see.”
Many Columbia residents hope that the new ordinance will be just the beginning. “Bicyclists are not the only ones subject to this behavior,” Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said. “The ordinance needs to be effective in reducing harassment wherever it occurs.” He went on to suggest future amendments to the ordinance protecting joggers, wheelchair users and other users of non-motor vehicle transportation.
As a St. Louis pedestrian injury attorney, I couldn’t agree more. All of these people need to share the road with motorists, and they are entitled to do so safely and without injury. Not every Missouri city has an ordinance outlawing aggression against bicyclists and others who share the road with cars. But regardless of where they are in Missouri, these victims have the right to hold drivers with road rage responsible for the injuries they cause with a Missouri bicycle accident lawsuit. These lawsuits can help them recover money for medical bills — which can be rather serious in an accident with a car — as well as compensation for their injuries physical pain, emotional suffering and any permanent disability or wrongful death.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., Carey, Danis & Lowe represents victims of serious personal injuries caused by car wrecks in Missouri and southern Illinois. Our Missouri auto accident lawyers help people who were seriously hurt or lost a loved one due to a driver’s negligence. We can help you recover the money you need to pay medical bills, make ends meet, and eventually move past the accident. If you or a family member are in this position and you’d like to learn more, please contact Carey, Danis & Lowe online or call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.