Cops: Keep Bikes Off Sidewalk, or Risk Losing Air

Professional cyclists ride near the Jaffa Gate to Jerusalem's Old City, in the race organized by the Jerusalem Municipality on November 26, 2014. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90
Professional cyclists ride near the Jaffa Gate to the Old City of Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Beginning next month, Israelis who ride their bikes on sidewalks for pedestrians will face fines of up to NIS 250 ($75) – and if an enforcement officer so desires, he will be able to take the air out of the tires of riders who remain uncooperative.

The fines are part of a new campaign by the Road Safety Administration and Israel Police on bicycle and pedestrian safety. The campaign will see police enforcing the no riding on sidewalks rule, as well as rules regarding wearing helmets, riding with traffic and not against it, stopping at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, and so on. Failing to stop at a red light will also generate sanctions, as well as fines of up to NIS 1,000.

Pedestrians also have their own responsibilities. Police will enforce rules keeping them out of bike lanes, which in many places are parts of the sidewalk that are designated for bikes. Just as bikes “invade” the pedestrian part of a sidewalk, so do walkers invade the bike side. Police will enforce rules keeping both separate.

The enforcement program will begin in Tel Aviv on May 1 and eventually spread throughout the country, police said. A police spokesperson said that the program “will first and foremost protect the safety of the public and prevent damage to persons and property.”