A state bill could make it easier and less time consuming for parking control officers to issue tickets to vehicles parked in bike lanes.
Assembly Bill 361, authored by Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego), would allow local agencies to issue parking citations using forward-facing cameras installed on parking control vehicles that would take a photo of a vehicle’s license plate if the vehicle is parked in a bike lane.
Currently, drivers who park in bike lanes in San Francisco could be hit with a $162 parking violation.
The bill would allow local agencies to install the cameras through a pilot program that would last until Jan. 1, 2030.
As a requirement of the bill, local agencies that implement the program would need to report back to the state on several topics, including the effectiveness of the program, privacy concerns and change in citations issued.
Additionally, the bill would require local agencies to issue warning notices at the start of the program for 60 days and must inform the public about the program as well as payment options for low-income persons at least 60 days before issuing citations.
The bill is similar to a law that authorizes forward-facing cameras on Muni buses that are used to enforce parking violations in transit-only lanes.
On Monday, the bill passed out of the state assembly in a third reading and how will go to the senate.
City supervisors sitting as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board approved a motion in support of AB 361 at the board’s May 9 meeting.
Supervisor Myrna Melgar said vehicles parked in the bike lanes happens citywide, adding:
“This is a really important tool that we can use to conserve staff time on enforcement while deterring bad behavior.”
SFBay asked Twitter users who bike in The City just how often they regularly encounter bike lanes blocked by vehicle. It did not take very long for them to respond with locations and photos below:
Stephen Chun, spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the agency that oversees parking and traffic, said in a statement:
“If passed, we believe this bill will discourage motorists from parking in bike lanes, making it safer for people to ride their bikes. This bill would provide the City with another tool in our toolbox to reinforce our investments in safe biking.”
In documents supporting the bill, The City also said that issuing a ticket can be time consuming as the parking control officer has to approach the vehicle to record the vehicle’s VIN number and then affix the ticket on the vehicle, adding:
“With limited city resources and enforcement personnel, it is not possible to hold everyone accountable for this violation to deter this dangerous behavior.”
Chun said the SFMTA will analyze the costs of implementing the cameras if the bill is signed by the governor.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.