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Car Blocking A Bike Lane? Report It To 311 Thanks To New City Crackdown

 Bicyclists ride in a buffered lane on Wabash Avenue.
Bicyclists ride in a buffered lane on Wabash Avenue.
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City of Chicago

CHICAGO — Bicyclists — and other Chicagoans — no longer have to seethe silently when they see a car or truck blocking a bicycle lane.

The city's online 311 system now has a specific page dedicated to logging complaints about vehicles blocking the bicycle lanes.

Complaints can also be filed by calling 311, and those reports will also be logged, officials said.

Women More Likely To Be Killed In Bicycle Crashes Than Men, Officials Say

Only one of the six people killed while riding a bicycle during 2016 were in a marked bicycle lane, according to the data.

City officials have pledged to step up their efforts to eliminate death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.

Charles Billows, the director of security for the city's Department of Finance, which is charged with enforcing parking laws, told the mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council in March that the city would step up efforts to ticket vehicles that block bicycle lanes.

Is It a Bike Lane or Turn Lane? Cyclists Lament Drivers' Lack of Awareness

About 15 traffic enforcement aides already patrol the city on bicycles, Billows said. Another 20 will be hired in the coming months.

Roughly 1,300 tickets were issued in 2016 to vehicles blocking bicycle lanes, most for double parking, Billow said.

Bicyclists who encounter a blocked lane should call 311, as city officials can assign agents to patrol areas that are the subject of a number of complaints.

"We will use that data as a tool," Billows said. "And that behavior changes pretty fast."

A statement from the Active Transportation Alliance praised the city's move.

"Documenting hot spots for blocked bike lanes will help the city use traffic enforcement to improve public safety, while helping ensure enforcement patterns are fair," according to a statement from the group.