UPDATE: The city of Chicago can now mail tickets to drivers who drive off prior to an officer or ticket aid physically placing a ticket on their car. Prior to this bill passing, if the city agent was unable to place the ticket physically on the automobile a driver could simply drive away and contest a mailed ticket and the ticket would not have to be paid. Link to law
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot proposes a change in the law to make it easier to hold bike lane obstructors accountable for blocking bike lanes. Call to action below.
Almost one year ago exactly...
we facilitated a workshop between the City of Chicago's Department of Finance & the Department of Transportation. The goal of the workshop was to better understand exactly what happens when bike lane obstructions are reported. During that workshop we journey mapped the entire process of ticket writing as well as the payment process. During that workshop we identified a loophole in the law that negatively impacts the safety of Chicago cyclists. Essentially, the loophole allows drivers to get out of being fined for breaking the law, by simply driving away prior to the ticket being placed physically on the windshield of their car. Because the law requires tickets to be physically placed on the windshield, this legally prevents the Department of Finance from mailing tickets to drivers. (Although, the infamous Chicago red light cameras get around this)
This diagram illustrates the loophole in the law. The loophole allows drivers to drive before a ticket is placed physically on their windshield, thus preventing them from being fined for breaking the law.
Closing the loophole:
Yesterday, as reported in the Chicago Sun Times, the Mayor of Chicago announced an initiative to close this loophole. The proposal would allow the Department of Finance to mail tickets to drivers who have driven away prior to tickets being physically placed on their windshield. While ticketing alone will not solve bike lane obstructions, it will have an effect in changing behavior. Our database has proven that while 80% of bike lane obstructions can be prevented through design and process improvement, there will always be that 20% of people who will obstruct bike lanes no matter how "protected" they are.
Call to Action:
This is where you come in. The Mayor's initiative to remove the ticket loophole currently does not co-sponsors. We urge the Bike Lane Uprising community to contact your alderman and let them know you support O2020-803. Below is a directory of Chicago Aldermen. Contact information includes, email, phone, and social media.