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Don’t park in a bike lane

It’s illegal now, and you will get a citation.

Houston city council on Wednesday made it illegal to park in or otherwise block the city’s expanding network of bike lanes, a long-sought change by cyclists fed up with dodging cars and other obstacles in their designated paths.

Council voted 15-2 to pass an ordinance to forbid people from blocking the dedicated lanes that are physically separated from roadways. The prohibition applies to 120 miles of bike lanes, and violations will be punishable by a $100 fine.

Councilmembers Mike Knox and Edward Pollard voted against the measure, but did not explain why. Council did not discuss the ordinance.

Previously, there was nothing in the city’s code that prohibited blocking the lanes. The city had to post “no parking” signs along the lanes in a sometimes futile effort to keep them clear.

Nick Hellyar, a board member for the nonprofit Bike Houston, hailed the ordinance as a pragmatic step toward safety.

“Bike Houston has been fighting for this for forever,” said Hellyar. “It’s just some of that common-sense government that sometimes we need to push a little harder for as advocacy groups.”

Warnings will be given for the first 90 days, and an amendment proposed by three Council members to offer a free bike class in lieu of the fine – sort of like defensive driving class for illegal parkers – was adopted. Motor vehicles of any kind are not allowed on the off-road bike trails, so in a sense all this does is standardize the bike trails around the city. I approve.

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6 Comments

  1. D.R. says:

    Great news. Something I haven’t seen reported on is that the bridge on the Hike and Bike Trail connecting the two trails (White Oak and Heights) in the lower Heights past I-10 is apparently structurally damaged from the August fire and there is no funding to replace or repair it. So it’s one step forward, one step back.

  2. brad says:

    This is really great news for the cycling public at large in our city.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    “This is really great news for the cycling public at large in our city.”

    LOL! All 8 of them? 🙂

  4. C.L. says:

    Folks should get out of their parent’s basement (during the week and) on the weekend and hit the local bike trails. (Apparently) You’d be surprised how many folks are using them to get from point A to point B.

  5. MarkCov says:

    I submitted a 311 complaint about a City of Houston Prius parked in the Bike Lanes downtown. I’m hoping someone along the way got a smile out of that report.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    You don’t get tickets for shop lifting you will not get officers writing tickets for this.