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Atlanta City Council green-lights harsher punishments for drivers parked in bike lanes

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Motorists will be liable for $100 fines (at least) for blocking lanes

An alternate means of keeping vehicles from bike lanes, as seen on Auburn Avenue.
An alternate means of keeping vehicles from bike lanes, as seen on Auburn Avenue.
Robin Smith, via People For Bikes

Atlanta motorists who chronically block bike lanes—looking at you, police officers—can now be hit with a $100 fine for “improper use of [the] lane.”

Until this week, drivers who would park in or otherwise obstruct bike lanes could be charged $25 for the offense.

But on Monday, the Atlanta City Council unanimously approved legislation that imposes a much tougher punishment for hogging bike paths—$100 for personal automobiles and $1,000 for commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers and semi-trucks, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Before the legislation was passed, some of the most frequent offenders of violating bike lane blockage laws had been delivery truck drivers, postal workers, and police officers, according to an Atlanta Bicycle Coalition report released in February 2018.

How this new law will change the way these drivers park remains to be seen.

The legislation does include exceptions to the rule in cases when blocking a bike lane is “necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device.”

That, of course, begs the question: Can police officers give themselves a pass?

And what will change for delivery truck drivers dropping off food and liquor to restaurants without sufficient parking or a loading zone?

According to the AJC, the new law also creates a ticket diversion program run through the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and city solicitor’s office.

First-time offenders would be able to attend a bike and traffic safety program to have their ticket waived.