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Ban on driving, parking in bike lanes advances

Motorists who use bike lanes as parking spaces or extra passing lanes may soon need to change their driving habits.

Albuquerque city councilors will consider a measure soon that would prohibit motor vehicle parking in a marked bicycle lane after the proposed ordinance cleared the Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee on Wednesday.

City Councilor Isaac Benton

City Councilor Isaac Benton

Sponsored by Councilor Isaac Benton, the proposed ordinance would clarify the definition of bicycle lanes as traffic lanes, and prohibit motor vehicles from using the lane for driving, parking or passing.

Benton told fellow members at the meeting that the growth of bike infrastructure in Albuquerque has led to a need to update traffic laws.

“It’s a concern that was raised to me,” Benton said. “There were concerns about a lack of clarity in regard to what it means to have a bike lane and how they should be treated by motor vehicles. The solution that staff came up with was to look at the definition of a bike lane.”

Albuquerque police Cmdr. Jennifer Garcia told councilors that the department supported the proposed ordinance.

“By allowing parking in bike lanes, it does inhibit drivers of vehicles, as well as cyclists on the roadway,” Garcia said.

The vote was 4-0, with Benton and Councilors Cynthia Borrego, Trudy Jones and Diane Gibson supporting the recommendation. Councilor Pat Davis did not attend the meeting.

Members also voted 4-0 to recommend an amendment saying that, if passed by council, the ordinance would go into effect six months from its publication.

The full council is expected to consider the proposal on June 4.