New L.A. law makes it a crime to harass cyclists

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— A new Los Angeles law makes it a crime for motorists to harass bicyclists, verbally or physically.

The City Council approved the ordinance on Wednesday. It also allows victims of harassment to file civil lawsuits without waiting for the city to press criminal charges.

League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke calls the law groundbreaking, saying no other city in the nation offers bicyclists an equivalent civil recourse.

Bicycle advocates have complained that motorists throw objects, shout insults and try to run them off the road.

The Los Angeles Times says census figures showed in 2008 that about 13,000 people commute to work on bicycles in Los Angeles.

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