Just seven months after increasing the fine for riding bikes on business district sidewalks, Evanston officials are considering raising it again.

A staff memo presented to members of the Transportation/Parking Committee Wednesday night offered no rationale for the fresh increase and provided no data on whether the previous increase had been effective in improving compliance with the long-standing ordinance.

Members of the committee voted to hold the proposal in committee after raising concerns about whether existing signage is sufficient to alert cyclists to the rules and suggesting increased publicity efforts to inform residents — especially newly arrived Northwestern University students — about the regulation.

Last July the fine was raised from $15 to $25. The new proposal would increase the fine to $50.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Bikes on Business Sidewalks
    This has been a problem for years. I see bikers riding down Orrington even past the hotel with all the people and car traffic to the hotel.
    They also ride down Clark from Orrington to at least Sherman. Both walks they ride very fast and even when told it is illegal keep going.
    There are plenty of signs, though a few ‘sandwich boards’ on the walks might help.
    It is not just new NU student—it is pretty much the same all year–some reduction after a snow.
    Only once in three years have I seen a police car on Clark looking for bikers. Well twice a police car I assume was there for that—he sat for 1/2 but had his head buried in a book—not much use.

    1. Bike Delivery

      For two days in a row a Jimmy Johns delivery biker has rode down the sidewalk from Church to Davis—I think for a delivery to the Chase Bank building.

      When I mention the law, he says he knows—but apparently does not care.

      I also see their bikers riding down the sidewalk on Sherman to their store fairly often.

  2. I support this

    I support this, it pisses me off when I'm walking with my kid and we have to dodge someone riding down the sidewalk right next to a bike lane, but what will they do about kids or people who don't have any id on them? Also, when do we start seeing fines/tickets for drivers who park in bike lanes? And for the love of god, get the mail drop out of the bike lane on davis!

    1. How many tickets were issued in 2014?


      Could you find out how many tickets for improper bike useage were issued in 2014 and what the total of the fines came to?

  3. Double fines for cars also!
    There are multiple issues here the least of which is the amount of the fine.

    The primary issue is safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

    The city claims that the protected bike lanes are safe – but this only works if they are free from delivery vehicles (e.g., along Church), poor parallel parking (e.g., along Davis), pedestrians (everywhere), and bicyclists riding the wrong direction (e.g., along Church again). Ultimately, if you make it safer for bicyclists to use the bike lanes fewer will be on the sidewalk.

    1. Parking in Bike Lanes Downtown

      As a frequent user of bike lanes, could not agree more about ticketing of drivers who park in bike lanes. Happy to use bike lanes, in fact would prefer them, except for the ever increasing number of delivery and regular vehicles who consider protected bike lanes to be free parking. Then, my safest option is the sidewalk.

      As an Evanston resident, I support the doubling of fines for riding on sidewalks. Just be fair and double fines on drivers parking in bike lanes.

      1. Parking in Bike Lanes Common on Church
        You see delivery trucks parked on Church across from the library all the time. They park there for extended periods. I’ve yet to see the police ticket or tell them to move. Perhaps they could work on with the owners of the old Borders to use the loading dock in the alley.
        As usual the laws are past but not enforced—also bikes on downtown sidewalks.

      2. Better Patrols of Ridge and Main
        If we’re going to step up patrolling and fines for people riding on the sidewalks, please consider expanding it to south Evanston. Adults who know better consistently ride at top speeds down the sidewalks on both Ridge and Main, and assume the right-of-way over pedestrians and children. The same thing happens along Sherman between South and downtown. I’ve had grown women snarking at me because we dared walk our children and infants with strollers down her sidewalk bike path on Ridge; evidently we weren’t moving aside fast enough for her. I’ve never seen a single biker get ticketed in our neighborhood. It’d be a great revenue opportunity.

        1. Compliments to a cyclist

          Almost every morning, while walking my dog,  I meet a cyclist W bound on Main and N bound on Ridge.  A man on his way to work.  He comes up behind me on the sidewalk, so he whistles and shouts that he is on my right.  My dog and I step to the side (which was possible, even in snow), and the cyclist is on his way to work and my walk continues.  The entire interaction is less than 10 seconds.  We are mutually respectful of one another.

          What is wrong with that? You want to ticket him? 

  4. This is reasonable if the

    This is reasonable if the income from the fines goes towards the construction of new bike lanes, pothole repair, and overall biker safety. I, too, am annoyed by those who bike on the sidewalk, but often times biking in the street can feel unsafe. Overall, we want to encourage biking in Evanston as a healthier and more sustainable option, and I think we need to focus our efforts on the fixing the root of the problem. 

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