Motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians can now file a civil lawsuit over hostile behavior on the road -- and collect up to $1,000 if successful -- thanks to an ordinance approved by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 20.
The issue was originally brought to the Board of Supervisors nearly a year ago by Supervisor Dave Cortese and broadened to include acts of road rage suffered by anyone on county roads.
The county's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee has supported the issue. According to the office of Supervisor Cortese, complaints from bicyclists who have been threatened and endangered by motorists played a major part in causing the Board of Supervisors to pass the ordinance.
"While motorists and cyclists have become more aware of each other, especially on narrow roads, bad behavior still happens all too frequently," Cortese said in a statement. "This ordinance will allow victims to take legal civil action and could be a deterrent to these acts of harassment."
Examples of bad behavior that the ordinance may protect against include motorists driving too closely to cyclists or pedestrians, making threats, cutting others off roadways or throwing objects, according to Cortese's office.