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Lawmakers Pass Bill Fining Drivers For Bike Lane Violations

A bicyclist rides down the bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A bicyclist rides down the bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
This article is more than 6 years old.

Drivers across the state could be penalized with a ticket of up to $50 for stopping in a bike lane under legislation sent to the governor's desk on Tuesday, the last day of the biennial session.

State and local officials have increasingly turned portions of roadways into bike lanes, and municipalities have imposed their own fines against drivers who use bike lanes for parking or stopping.

In May 2014, a new bike lane obstruction penalty went into effect in Cambridge, with a $35 charge, according to the city's website, which says that previously vehicles obstructing bike lanes were ticketed for double-parking or other offenses. Boston also tickets drivers for stopping or parking in a bike lane, according to its website.

Sen. William Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat and bicycle commuter who drafted the language that passed the House and Senate, told the News Service there is not currently a statewide rule against stopping in bike lanes.

The bill exempts drivers stopped in a bike lane for an emergency and specifies that a violation would not be considered a moving violation for the purposes of determining a surcharge on car insurance premiums.

"MassBike is thrilled with this news," said Lauren LeClaire, communications director for MassBike. "The bike lane protection bill is critical to making our recently developed bicycle infrastructure a safe place to ride. Many cities and towns have similar local ordinances."

Gov. Charlie Baker has 10 days to sign the legislation. If he does not sign the bill, it will be considered "pocket vetoed" since the 2015-2016 Legislature has expired and a new Legislature is being sworn in on Wednesday.


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