PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh has about 60 miles of bike lanes, which aim to provide a safe space for cyclists to get around the city.
But that’s tough to do if someone parks their car in the designated biking path.
“It is dangerous to park in a bike lane,” explained Eric Boerer, Bike Pittsburgh’s advocacy director. “It causes someone on a bike to need to swerve out of the bike lane and into moving traffic.”
Currently, parking in bike lanes is not illegal.
That’s why Councilman Bobby Wilson, at the direction of Bike Pittsburgh and other cyclists in his district, is working to re-write the city code, making it easier for Pittsburgh Police and the Parking Authority to crack down on bike lane parking.
“Right now, you would need a ‘No Parking’ sign and it doesn’t make sense to go around the city installing ‘No Parking’ signs so that this can be enforced,” explained Wilson.
If approved, police would be able to ticket drivers for parking in the bike lane just like other parking violations.
The updated code could also permit exemptions, allowing parking in certain instances, like Sunday church services or other events where parking spots are in demand.
“The intent of this is to make no parking in bike lanes the default and then if there’s special circumstances, then obviously the city can work on those special circumstances,” said Boerer.
Overall, it’s new legislation cyclists say has become necessary with the growing popularity of bike lanes.
According to Wilson, City Council aims to vote on the proposed legislation within the next few weeks.
“It makes no sense to continue to invest in this type of infrastructure if we’re not going to really take the opportunity to make sure people who use it are able to access it,” he said.