HOUSTON — Houston City Council on Wednesday approved an ordinance meant to protect cyclists and hold drivers accountable for parking in bike lanes.
This includes any lane designated for bicycles with striping, barriers or green paint as seen in parts of Midtown, Downtown and elsewhere. The bike lanes are part of the Houston Bike Plan, which aims for a safer infrastructure for cyclists and drivers by 2027.
“We have listened to bicyclists throughout our city, and we are taking this step to protect them and keep the lanes clear for everyone to enjoy. The ordinance is an opportunity to promote safety and educate those who park in dedicated bicycle lanes without realizing how it impedes access. Together, we can balance the needs of drivers and bicyclists in our city,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The new citation for parking in a bike lane, painted green or not, carries a $100 fine. For their first violation, offenders have the option to take a Bicycle Friendly Driver Training Class to have the fine waived.
“The class is designed to teach the best practices in considering the road safety of bicyclists and other non-motorists on shared rights-of-way. In order to take the course, the driver must see a hearing officer,” stated a city spokeswoman in a press release.
The ordinance does not require signage and does not apply to bike lanes that are shared with traffic or on-street parking, like on Washington Avenue.