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New D.C. law gives bicyclists stronger legal protection

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The District passed a new law proponents say will give cyclists a better chance of filing a lawsuit against motorists who purposely try to harm them.

"This is a little extra protection for the most egregious type of assaults and harassment that cyclists face on the streets,” said Greg Billing, outreach coordinator at the Washington Areas Bicyclist Association, the organization that pushed for the law.

"Often attorneys won't take these cases because the damages are so low that there are no incentives for them to represent cyclists," Billing said.

According to the law, if a cyclist prevails in a civil case, they can receive up to $1000 in damages and up to $10,000 for attorney fees.

Billing admits the cases are rare, but the protection needs to be there.

Lily Boyce just learned about the law and said it makes sense, especially for people like her who only use their bicycles to get around.

"Bikers should have some sort of standing, some sort of representation, definitely,” Boyce said.

"We're sort of a body on a bike, so I do think that's a good idea,” said Tripp Reed, who was running an errand on his bike.

Hillary Wentz prefers to walk because of the horrific stories she has heard from friends who use bicycles to get around the city.

Even with the new bike lanes, she feels like there is too much risk.

"That's definitely why I'm afraid to ride a bike around here,” said Wentz, who said with the new law she may consider riding her bike more often.

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