Editorials

Proposed ordinance would curb harassment for bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair operators on KC streets

Bicyclists like these crossing the Heart of America Bridge would find greater safety and comfort if a proposed anti-harassment ordinance in Kansas City were to become law. A conviction would mean a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail.
Bicyclists like these crossing the Heart of America Bridge would find greater safety and comfort if a proposed anti-harassment ordinance in Kansas City were to become law. A conviction would mean a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail. The Kansas City Star

Traffic laws and enforcement get most hurried drivers to obey stoplights and stop signs. Kansas Citians should expect the same lawful behavior to result from a proposal to ban the harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians and wheelchair operators.

It’s not an issue to be taken lightly. The proposed ordinance before the Kansas City Council would promote a healthy, safe, share-the-road environment for people engaged in the slower forms of commuting or exercise.

They shouldn’t have to put up with drive-by offenses from motorists such as threats, catcalls, wolf-whistles, thrown objects and horn honking. But it happens.

Smartphones with recording capabilities would provide victims with evidence they’d need to take offenders to court. Under the ordinance, a person convicted would face a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail.

Kansas City would join other municipalities such as Columbia, Mo., and St. Louis in making threatening and dangerous acts illegal. BikeWalkKC sought the new law.

A national group, Stop Street Harassment, found in a study this year that 65 percent of American women reported being victims of harassment or worse on U.S. streets compared to a quarter of men.

This ordinance would make Kansas City a more polite, less threatening and safer place for everyone.

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