The city of Tel Aviv began enforcement on Wednesday of a law that limits the use of some of the city’s sidewalks by bicycle riders and by scooters. Violators will now face fines of between 100 shekels ($28) and 1,000 ($285) shekels.
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Enforcement, officials said, will focus initially on main streets, streets where the speed limit is 30 kilometers per hour (instead of the usual 50) and near schools. The law also makes a distinction between cyclists on regular bicycles and electric bikes.
City officials said that riders of ordinary bicycles, as opposed to electric bikes, are permitted to ride on the sidewalk where there is no bicycle lane so long as the street does not have a 30 kph speed limit, in which case cyclists are to use the street.
Use of electric bicycles and scooters is limited only to those 16 and over. They must be ridden on designated bike lanes and cannot be ridden on the sidewalk. In the absence of a bike lane, they can be ridden on the right side of the street.
In recent months, municipal inspectors issued about 4,000 warnings to violators, but those running afoul of the new law will now face actual fines. The highest fine, 1000 shekels, is for use of a cellphone while riding.
Those violating the law in using sidewalks, bicycle lanes and crosswalks will face fines of between 100 and 250 shekels. Similar fines apply for disrupting pedestrian traffic or for using earphones in violation of the law, while riding on the sidewalk. Pedestrians themselves are subject to 500 shekel fines for walking in bicycle lanes. Municipal inspectors are authorized to detain anyone who is thought likely to flee the scene and, when appropriate, can also impound bicycles or let the air out of their tires.
The law requires that a child up to age 8 riding on a bicycle as a passenger be placed in a child seat. The law does not allow cyclists or scooter users to ride in a crosswalk other than where that is specifically designated. Riders are to dismount and walk across the crosswalk.
The city said the new law, which officially went into effect in September, is designed in part to protect pedestrians from being hit by cyclists on the sidewalk, particularly by users of electric bicycles.