DC proposes tighter ban on drivers blocking bike lanes

Police in the nation's capital are searching for a male bicyclist accused of slapping and grabbing women's butts as he rode past them.((Thinkstock))

WASHINGTON — New D.C. rules would make it crystal clear: Drivers cannot stop in or otherwise block bike lanes.

While blocking the lanes is already generally illegal, current regulations include a number of exceptions or loopholes for things, such as passenger or freight pickup and drop-off and for avoiding blocking other traffic.

Those exceptions have contributed to enforcement issues the city has promised to address as part of “Vision Zero” safety efforts, so the District Department of Transportation’s proposed rule changes could make it easier for police and parking enforcement officers to punish violators ranging from regular drivers to ride-hailing services or delivery trucks.

Blocking in a bike lane momentarily would still be permitted only when necessary to parallel park, turn, or if the driver is directed there by a police officer. Blocking the road would not be allowed for Uber, Lyft or cab pickup and drop off.

If public comments through Mar. 11 do not lead to any major changes to the proposals, the new safety rules could become effective this spring.

Comments supporting or opposing the changes can be emailed to publicspace.policy@dc.gov or mailed to 55 M St. SE, 7th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20003.

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