Aldermen Approve Steeper Fines For Cyclists, Drivers

(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen on Wednesday approved a number of changes to the city’s bike ordinance, including steeper fines for cyclists who violate traffic laws, or anyone who opens a car door in the path of a cyclist.

Under the mayor’s plan, the fine when cyclists disobey traffic laws would go from a flat $25 to a range of $50 to $200, depending on the violation.

The mayor’s proposal would also double the fine for “dooring” cyclists – by opening a vehicle door into their path – to $1,000. The fine would also double, to $300, for anyone who leaves a car door open in traffic.

The mayor’s plan also would give cyclists more leeway on city streets, by allowing them to ride in the main roadway – rather than hugging the curb – if they are keeping up with vehicle traffic, even if there’s a bike path on the street.

Adult cyclists also could use the sidewalks to enter the nearest road or bike path, or enter a designated bike station. Previously, only cyclists under the age of 12 could ride on the sidewalk.

Buses that use shared bike lanes would be able to leave that lane to get around slower cyclists.