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Chicago’s mayor proposes steeper fines for cycling scofflaws

by AirTalk

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A man eats a banana while biking in New York. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

To contend with an upswing of two-wheeled commuters in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants bigger fines imposed on reckless drivers and cyclists. The city's current fine for bicyclists who disobey traffic laws, such as running red lights, is $25. He wants it raised to a $200-maximum. As for drivers and passengers who open their doors in the way of a cyclist, the fine could double to $1,000. "Dooring" can cause serious injuries. Emanuel's aides say there were more than 250 dooring accidents last year.

In California, it's illegal for car doors to be opened without caution - whether it affects bikes, cars or pedestrians. However, cycling advocates say enforcing rules around "dooring" is nearly impossible here. As for red lights and stop signs, California cyclists can face similar fines as drivers who break the law.

Should more laws be imposed that are more specific to cycling safety? What's the right punishment for dooring? Are there some traffic laws that should only apply to drivers, but don't make sense for cyclists? Or should everyone be treated the same to ensure clarity and safety?


Guest:

Colin Bogart, Education Director, Los Angeles County Bike Coalition

Michelle Mowery, Bicycle Planning and Programming, City of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation

For Bike WeekThere are group rides all over LA tonight. This weekend, the focus is on cycling locally to run errands. And tonight at Paseo Colorado is Ladies Night with a maintenance clinic and group ride.

To learn more about Bike Week all over LA County, visit metro.net/bikes, or on twitter @bikemetro.

 

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