Are drivers still parking in D.C. bike lanes? You bet.

July 16, 2014

Bike lanes in D.C. (Gerald Martineau/Washington Post)

You’d think the posts that mark bike lanes in downtown Washington would keep drivers from parking in cyclists’ right-of-way, right?  But D.C. police say a lot of motorists still do it.

The number of tickets issued for stopping or standing in a bike lane has skyrocketed in the District over the past four years.  Police gave out 4,200 tickets in 2013, almost six times more than in 2010 when 730 tickets were issued, according to statistics provided by the police department. The violation carries a $65 fine.

So far this year, more than 1,900 tickets have been issued for blocking a bike lane.  That number reflects a 17 percent increase over the same period last year, police said.

Sgt. Terry Thorne, who oversees traffic safety at the police department, said blocking bike lanes can be dangerous for cyclists and drivers because it causes those on two wheels to suddenly move into the general travel lanes, which can lead to crashes.

“This is to keep everyone safe,” he said, of the enforcement.

The D.C. Department of Transportation has tried to address the problem of illegal parking by fencing off bike lanes from motor vehicle traffic.  The city now has more than 50 miles of bike lanes.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.
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