Parking in a bike lane will soon cost drivers

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-21 18:11:38-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The number of bikes sharing Grand Rapids streets with cars increased nearly 50 percent in just three years. You may have noticed the nearly 100 miles of bike-only lanes added to accommodate them. It could soon cost drivers who invade those lanes.

"It's congesting traffic so it's either going to cause a car door to swing open and hit a cyclist or possibly a cyclist weave into oncoming traffic," said Mariah Kennedy.

Kennedy is one of the cyclists advocating to share the road with cars. She's even had her own run-ins.

"I was biking down Wealthy, traveling East and a car just swung its door open without looking out of its mirror and I hit it and flew over the door and it was one of the worst crashes I've ever had."

The friendly reminder stickers are just that, for now, but starting November 1 cars parked in or driving in bike lanes will be hit with a $30 ticket from GRPD. That's as much as a normal parking ticket.

"I think there's this misconception that cyclists aren't supposed to be on the road and we're just a nuisance and we're in the way but I think it's really important that it's a positive interaction so again, it's just a little sticker," Kennedy said.

But before that deadline Kennedy and other bike advocates will be putting the reminders on cars parked in bike lanes.

"We're not trying to be mean, just like 'Hey, I'm here too, just like you are in your car.'"

You can pick up the stickers at each of the 16 bike shops around Grand Rapids, the city office and Citizen Shirt.