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Higher Bike, 'Dooring' Fines Headed for Full Council Vote

By DNAinfo Staff on June 3, 2013 3:15pm

 A bicyclist rides Monday in the protected bike path along Dearborn Street Downtown.
A bicyclist rides Monday in the protected bike path along Dearborn Street Downtown.
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DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali

CITY HALL — With the city expecting a big increase in cycling due to its new bike-sharing program, an ordinance that would increase fines for "dooring" incidents and bicyclists who commit traffic violations is due for a City Council vote Wednesday.

The pedestrian and traffic safety committee approved the measure, which would increase fines for bicyclists from a flat $25 fine to $50 to $200, depending on the circumstances of the violation.

The measure also would double fines for drivers who open their doors in the path of bicyclists. If an open door interferes with a bicycle's movement, the ticket would be $300. If the dooring causes injury to a bicyclist, the ticket would be $1,000.

"We really believe that if you are traveling recklessly and are putting people at risk, a ticket is warranted whether you are biking, walking or driving a car," said Ron Burkeexecutive director of the Active Transportation Alliance.

The ordinance also clarifies traffic rules for bicyclists, including that those more than 12 years old may ride on sidewalks only "to enter the nearest roadway, intersection or designated bicycle path, or to access a bicycle share station."

Luann Hamilton, deputy commission at the Chicago Department of Transportation, said her department will work with other departments, including the police, on both enforcement and education.

"I ride on the sidewalk," said Ald. Deborah Graham (39th), one of the committee members. "I didn't know there was a mandate to be in the street."