WASHINGTON — UPDATE: The original story said drivers would be ticketed $65 for blocking bike lanes, but a D.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson rolled that back, saying drivers would actually be ticketed $150. A "clerical error" led to the announcement about a $65 charge.
The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) announced Friday that it will issue $150 tickets to any driver seen improperly parking, stopping or leaving a bike lane.
Technically, this rule has existed since November as part of DPW's bike lane enforcement program. But previously, officers had to write up a ticket and then put it on the car as it committed the violation in the act. The new procedure allows parking enforcement officers (PEO) to take photographs of motorists that are seen blocking bike lanes, and then send out a ticket to violators.
Previously, violators were mailed an image of the bike lane violation with a citation labeled "warning." But beginning Feb. 29, motorists can expect to receive a photo and a fine of $150 in the mail. Violators will still be allowed to appeal the ticket through the usual adjudication process with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has since mobilized 26 new PEOs creating a team of nearly 300.
This is all in an effort from the DPW to support Mayor Bowser's Vision Zero initiative, with a goal of ending all traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.
The District Department of Transportation [DDOT] said D.C. would accomplish that task by using transportation data, engineering and enforcement more effectively, to make streets safer.
"The District’s nearly 90 miles of bike lanes help to expand transportation options and boost connectivity to the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and commercial corridors," Chris Geldart, director of DPW, said. "As we enter into the next stage of our bike lane enforcement program, the issuance of tickets will incentivize motorists to help keep lanes clear of obstructions so that bikers can safely share the road with vehicles."
Data pulled from the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) COBALT crash data system showed there were 30 collisions between drivers and pedestrians in the area of 14th Street NW between H and L Streets from August 2016 through August 2019.
The second most dangerous stretch of road in the District is found further north on 14th Street NW, in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, between Harvard and Quincy Streets.
Thirty-four pedestrians and another 52 cyclists were involved in collisions on that roadway, according to the data.
The area most prone to collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians in D.C. was the U Street Corridor.
In the last three years, MPD data shows drivers struck 68 cyclists and another 65 pedestrians between V and T streets to the north and south and 15th and 9th streets to the west and east.