Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mopeds and Bike Lanes

I saw this post from Lawyer Jim at Chicago Bike Law and was inspired... He's spot on - with gas prices escalating there are an increasing number of people riding scooters and mopeds in the bike lanes, and the drivers seem to be under the impression that it's their right to do so... I encountered a scooter in the bike lane when Southbound on Damen at Montrose, the exchange went something like this:

Me: "dude, you can't have that thing in the bike lane"
Dude: "what?" (we were at 17-20mph)
Me: "get that shit out of the bike lane, no motorized vehicles allowed"
Dude: "it's 49cc!"
Me: " doesn't matter, its got a motor. get outta the bike lane or I'm calling your plate in"

At that point, he did merge into the regular traffic lane and I kept on southbound... when I looked back a block later he was in the bike lane. I think he might have realized that my threat of calling in his plates was thinly veiled as he hadn't even registered the thing... it's likely he thinks that his 49cc scooter is exempt from all sorts of laws - perhaps due to an overzealous scooter salesman, who knows.

(to clarify, the only exemption provided by a 49cc you don't need a motorcycle endorsement on your license in order to operate it.)

Chicago Municipal Code:

9-40-060 Driving, standing or parking on bicycle paths or lanes prohibited [as of March 2008]

The driver of a vehicle shall not drive, unless entering or exiting a legal parking space, or stand, or park the vehicle upon any on street path or lane designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or otherwise drive or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such path or lane. The driver of a vehicle shall not stand or park the vehicle upon any lane designated by pavement markings for the shared use of motor vehicles and bicycles, or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such lane. In addition to the fine provided in Section 9-4-025 of this Code, any vehicle parked in violation of this section shall be subject to an immediate tow and removal to a city vehicle pound or authorized garage.

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