- The Philadelphia Parking Authority announced a Bicycle Lane Enforcement Initiative last week that will include eight new bike lane enforcement officers to exclusively focus on enforcing bike lane regulations in several city neighborhoods.
- The PPA intends to issue tickets to vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes, with enforcement officers on the street starting this fall. Ticket fines within Center City will be $76, whereas certain other areas will be $41, PPA Deputy Executive Director Corinne O'Connor said in an email interview.
- Since 2011, 41 cyclists have been killed in Philadelphia streets and 135 cyclists have been injured, O'Connor said in the program announcement. The PPA has also issued more than 25,700 bike lane violations since 2014. The “staggering” number of violations illustrates why the city needs more enforcement, O’Connor said.
Local leaders are seeking new ways to protect cyclists as the rate of cycling activity, urban deliveries and dangerous road conditions have each increased in cities in recent years.
Cities are becoming more creative in how they enforce bike lane parking violations, according to Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Policy Director Nicole Brunet. New York City, for example, announced in February that it would protect 20 miles of bike lanes with “sturdier” materials to prevent drivers from entering the lanes. New York and Chicago have also considered the use of cameras to ticket people who illegally park and stop in the lanes.
Philadelphia’s new effort also comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that U.S. traffic fatalities hit a 16-year high in 2021, with pedestrian deaths up 13% compared with 2020’s already elevated rate.
The pandemic impacted the ability to enforce the proper use of bike lanes in Philadelphia, according to Brunet, who noted the city issued 4,176 bike lane citations in 2019 compared with 1,151 bike lane citations in 2021. Outside of ticketing enforcement, O'Connor also said the PPA will continue to educate the public about parking violations via social media.
“Many of Philadelphia’s unprotected bike lanes are chronically encroached upon by drivers who park or stand with impunity,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, in the announcement. “A team of enforcement officers on bikes will be able to efficiently and sustainably keep bike lanes clear and safe for the bicyclists they were designed and built for.”
Philadelphia also has plans to appoint its first-ever Vision Zero Ambassadors this summer, Cities Today reports. The ambassadors will attend training sessions, receive a stipend of up to $1,000, and help bring awareness to traffic safety among their local community.
Meanwhile, many other cities including Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., are beefing up their cycling infrastructure to help keep cyclists safe. New York City reconfigured its iconic Brooklyn Bridge to replace a lane of traffic for cars with a protected bike lane last year while Chicago announced its biggest bike lane expansion in the city’s history. Washington, D.C., opened a $480 million bridge — closing a big gap in the city’s trail network — that includes a multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists.