Jersey City Council OKs measure enabling $175 fine for cars that park in bike lanes


The Jersey City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance enabling a $175 fine for cars that park in bike lanes at last night’s meeting.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“I’ve seen drivers take advantage of this as parking spots. I believe it’s dangerous when cyclists have to mix with traffic,” Scott Hansen said during the public portion before the ordinance vote.

Another frequent bicyclist, Deirdre Newman, indicated that motor vehicles should not be prioritized.

“Pretty much every time I consider getting on my bike, I think ‘am I gonna live to get home again?’ I don’t understand why … the automobile user’s convenience is prioritized. It should be as safe as a pedestrian feels on a sidewalk,” she began.

Jermaine Woodward, Sr. recounted the story of his son getting fatally struck by a vehicle while in a bike lane.

“In 2015, my son, Jermaine Woodward, Jr., was struck and killed in a bike lane on Bostwick by two brothers speeding down the block. Never got no justice for the tragedy. Y’all need to make laws about people driving in the bike lane, parking in the bike lane,” he explained.

“This could happen to another child. It’s a shame Jersey City couldn’t make something of the case. My son was in the bike lane. I know a fine won’t bring my son back. It will open up people’s eyes about driving in the bike lane. There should be a heavy fine.”

Bike JC President Ayla Schermer also came out in favor of the local legislation, noting that there are many hazards in the streets for bicyclists. She also claimed to have a full photo album on her phone of cars in bike lanes.

“I’ve tried time and time again to report these safety infractions,” she said, indicating she was always told it is not illegal.

“Drivers tell us they’ll just be there for a minute. It takes one split second to put cyclists at grave risk due to a driver choosing their own convenience.”

Safe Streets JC President Jimmy Lee said there were “five preventable traffic deaths” last year and an ordinance such as this one should “deter bad behavior in bike lanes, also noting that California and New York City have similar laws.

“Why have the bike lanes if we’re going to let motor vehicles park in them?” Lee added, also commending the city’s Vision Zero efforts to keep streets safe.

He later explained he had an accident that would have been worse had there been no bike lane at all.

“We definitely need some rules. We need more signs letting us know where’s the bike lane. We need more education in our community about the bike lane,” activist Tina Nalls added, further stating they are crucial for people without driver’s licenses/cars.

“This is a 175-dollar fee for parking in bike lanes. I’m encouraged. We should be looking at other things like our infrastructure across the city,” Edward Perkins added, also stating the council should work to solicit more feedback on matters such as this one.

Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, a retired police detective, said there also needs to be better traffic enforcement for bicyclists.

“I get millions of complaints about bicycles riding down the wrong way. Delivery bikes running red lights. There has to be some control. Citation should be given to bikers that run red lights,” he declared.

“A lot of people in the city are complaining. They put in the bike lanes … they cause traffic congestion and they take away parking. There has to be more to this. We don’t have any enforcement by this police department. It’s a shame We don’t have a traffic division. This has to be followed up on. The bikers need to start obeying the laws.”

Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh said protective bike lanes are needed, but are only useful if enforcement of the fines are prioritized.

He was interested in using cameras for enforcement, asking if that would be legal despite a state law that does not allow them to be used for speeding.

“Sure, councilman, we can bring together all the parties that would be important. There is a difference between a parking fine and a moving violation,” Assistant Corporation Counsel Brittany Murray replied.

The rest of the council expressed their support as well.

“We need to ensure safe methods of travel. One of the key ways is preventing vehicles from stopping in bike lanes,” added Ward E Councilman James Solomon.

“This requires us to really take a deep look just at our infrastructure,” Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore asserted, expressing concern about a lack of community education on bike lanes.

“You have to adhere to the rules and the regulation. I’ve learned you have to have enforcement.”

He noted people have stopped using the shoulder to pass on Route 440 near a Starbucks due to enforcement.

“I don’t think we have a traffic division that can hand out traffic citations,” Gilmore continued.

Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera said that everyone should feel safe while traveling citywide, therefore pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers should all have to adhere to the rules of the road.

Rivera explained that they passed an ordinance four years ago for the police department to utilize motorcycles and horses for enforcement. However, it still has not been implemented since there is no traffic division in the Jersey City Police Department.

City Clerk Sean Gallagher announced the measure passed unanimously (9-0) to applause from the audience.

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  1. This is a very good effort as cars parked in the bike lanes actually cause an overflow of negative effects and harm.

    There’s also lots of food delivery people who are riding the WRONG WAY in the bike lanes for no other reason than pure selfish laziness when their available lane is right across the street.

    Don’t dare tell them they’re going the wrong way. They’ll curse you or threaten worse. Make them pay for it!

  2. Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, a retired police detective, said there also needs to be better traffic enforcement for bicyclists.

    Take a look around, Councilman. The JCPD does virtually no enforcement of any traffic laws whether it’s bikes, cars, scooters, or trucks.

    Double parking, idling, riding on sidewalks or in the pedestrian plaza, wrong way down one-way streets, failure to stop, failure to yield, speeding. You name it.

    But yet, you keep hiring new cops and forking over those overtime dollars.