Police Poised for Crackdown on Sidewalk Bicycling

YERUSHALAYIM -

The police in Israel are set to begin enforce the law against bicycles on sidewalks.

Starting on Sunday, people caught bicycling on sidewalks will be slapped with a 250-shekel fine, according to Ynet.

The existing law has gone unenforced, but due to a recent increase in the number of bicycles on the sidewalks, and accidents involving them, the authorities have been forced to act.

In addition, the police warn that they will be enforcing other laws, including riding through a red light, riding against the flow of traffic, using a mobile phone while riding, and obstructing pedestrians at a crossing. Fines of 1,000 shekels can be levied on offenders, plus the releasing of air from bicycle tires or the confiscation of an electric bicycle’s battery.

According to the Tel Aviv Municipality, 16.1% of commuter trips to work, school or the army in the city are by bicycle, compared to 10.6% in 2012.

Since 2000, nearly 100 miles of bicycle paths have been paved, and this year a further 30 million shekels have been budgeted for the development of bicycling infrastructure.

Nevertheless, cyclists claim the city lacks adequate cycling lanes, and have criticized its decision to fine cyclists as an easy out, especially with the danger that cyclists face on the roads.