The City of North Vancouver is cracking down on drivers who block bike lanes.
Council voted Monday night to create a new bylaw barring anyone from “stopping, parking or otherwise impeding a mobility lane.”
According to city staff, the number of people misusing the lanes has been on the increase, putting vulnerable road users at risk. Currently, that can net you a $100 fine for “impeding traffic” but staff say it has been difficult to enforce “as it is not clear to motor vehicle operators that road users in these facilities are considered traffic.”
The city issued 295 such bylaw enforcement notices in 2020, according to staff.
The new bylaw that forbids impeding a mobility lane will come with a $200 fine.
Council’s vote was unanimous.
“For me, these bylaw changes are really important. It helps ensure that our painted mobility routes are a bit better off from an enforcement point of view,” said Coun. Tony Valente. “I see this as a really important step to be able to provide some alternatives to folks if they don't necessarily want to drive.”
Coun. Holly Back said she was totally in favour of upping the fines but added the city needs to provide a means for delivery drivers to safely access local businesses, particularly along Esplanade.
“There is literally nowhere for those trucks to stop and unload,” she said.
For Mayor Linda Buchanan, it wasn’t a question of whether to raise the fine but by how much.
“I'm going to be really blunt. I don't think $200 is enough,” she said, noting she doesn’t want the fine to be seen as the cost of doing business for some commercial operations. “If we don't see an increase in compliance, then I think we're going to need to look at higher fines.”