Rochester’s City Council approved a rule last week to prohibit cars from standing or parking in bike lanes.
Prior to the rule change, stopping or parking in a bike lane was only prohibited where it was explicitly stated as such, with “No Standing” or “No Parking” signs erect. The City of Buffalo has the same policy currently—motorists standing or parking in bike lanes can only be ticketed where “No Standing” signs are present.
In Rochester, tickets can now be issued to cars blocking a bike lane.
Encouraged by local bicycle advocates and introduced to council by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, in addition to creating a safer environment for people to ride bicycles, local advocates hope the change will create a more walkable, bikable city, thereby attracting businesses and young people by creating a safer, connected and more accessible city. The City of Rochester also notes efforts to increase biking will help address climate change goals and transportation barriers.
When bike lanes are blocked, they become unusable and force the cyclist into traffic where not expected. Keeping cars out of bike lanes is imperative to ensuring the comfort and safety of the lane users.
Though it is still allowable for vehicles in Buffalo to stop/stand/park in bike lanes where no signs explicitly prohibit such (we’re still looking at you, Westin Buffalo), there are some things you can do to help:
Report lane blockages via 311 in order to ensure data is captured (use the app, call, or email)
Use the Safe Lane site to photograph and document bike lane blockages to contribute to their crowd-sourced map
For more information on Rochester’s new rule, see:
Ironically, a member of Mayor Warren’s team was photographed stopping in a bike lane in a city-owned vehicle a few hours before city council approval of the new rule.