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Group bike rides on Dodge targeted

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Groups of bicycle riders who use the car lanes on Dodge Avenue may soon be targeted for tickets by Evanston Police.

Aldermen Cicely Flemin, 9th Ward, responding to complaints from a couple of residents at a ward meeting last week, said she wants “cyclists riding in those big herds” to use the bike lanes.

“You’ve got 50 cyclists, all in the street” slowing auto traffic, Fleming said. “They’re not going to do that on Dodge any more. We’re going to have to ticket them. I don’t know how you change behavior otherwise.”

The state vehicle code and city code don’t explicitly tell cyclists to only use bike lanes when they’re present, but Sgt. Tracy Williams, head of the Evanston Police traffic unit notes there is a more general state vehicle code provision that reads “Official traffic control devices may be erected directing specific traffic to use a designated lane … and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.”

Williams says a few tickets citing that provision have been written and upheld in Skokie district court.

The Dodge Avenue protected bike lanes drew sharp criticism from some nearby residents when they were first installed last year. That led to some modifications to the design — including removing many of the plastic bollards that deliniated automobile parking areas along the street.

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