HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston drivers now risk a fine when parking in bike lanes, a new city ordinance states.
City Council approved the measure Oct. 14 after delaying the vote to work out details of the rule's enforcement.
First-time offenders will receive a warning, and anyone who violates the ordinance more than once will face a citation and up to a $200 fine. Drivers who have never received a citation can appeal the citation and fine by taking a bicycle-friendly driving course instead.
While municipal judges have the ability to set fines of up to $200 for the violation, the Houston Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department is recommending they set a $100 fine for this specific offense.
Cars parked in bike lanes can only be towed if the area has a no-parking sign, according to the department.
The adjustments to the ordinance's enforcement came primarily from Council Member Letitia Plummer, who sought to ensure the rule was strict enough to deter residents from parking in bike lanes but forgiving enough to not place too high of a financial burden on first-time offenders.
"Our goal is to educate and also look at enforcement in a different manner," Plummer said during an Oct. 7 discussion.
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