HOUSTON – Houston City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting parking of motor vehicles in dedicated bicycle lanes. A dedicated bicycle lane is a portion of the roadway separated from vehicle traffic with striping and/or physical barriers for the exclusive use of bicyclists.
When the Houston Bike Plan was adopted in 2017, the City committed to making Houston a safer, more accessible, bike-friendly city by 2027. Approval of the ordinance supports the Bike Plan, protects the City’s investment in the bikeway infrastructure and further strengthens the City’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
“We have listened to bicyclists throughout our city, and we are taking this step to protect them and keep the lanes clear for everyone to enjoy. The ordinance is an opportunity to promote safety and educate those who park in dedicated bicycle lanes without realizing how it impedes access. Together, we can balance the needs of drivers and bicyclists in our city,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“With the passage of this ordinance, we have provided a means to not only protect the safety of bicyclists but also to demonstrate our commitment to Vision Zero,” said Tina Paez, Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department director. “The City has invested significantly, and we must ensure bicyclists feel safe while using these lanes. Bicyclists are no different from the vehicle drivers who want safe and clear roadways.”
The citation carries a $100 fine but for their first violation, offenders have the option to take a Bicycle Friendly Driver Training Class to have the fine waived. The class is designed to teach the best practices in considering the road safety of bicyclists and other non-motorists on shared rights-of-way. In order to take the course, the driver must see a hearing officer.
The ordinance approved by City Council will not require posted signage as it has previously. The prohibition will not apply to on-street bikeways where travel lanes are shared by vehicles and bicyclists and where the City permits on-street parking; i.e.: Washington Avenue.