Bicyclists would face fines of $75 for running a red light or riding on a sidewalk, and drivers could be required to pay as much as $75 for parking in a bike lane under a bill approved by a City Council Committee Thursday.
Fines, however, aren't the only point of the "Complete Streets" bill, according to its backers. Instead, as the name suggests, the bill's goal is to design streets that balance the needs of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
"By enacting this bill, Philadelphia's streets over time will become safer spaces for walking, biking and driving," said Alex Doty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
The bill also prohibits drivers from opening car doors into oncoming traffic. Car doors that open unexpectedly cause many bicycle accidents, Doty said.
The bill, as written, requires city agencies to consider and accommodate "the safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system, be they pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users or motor vehicle drivers" when designing projects. Priority is to be given to the safety of children, the elderly and the disabled.
The proposed ordinance is expected to gain approval of the full Council and already has the backing of the Nutter administration.
"Philadelphians walk, bike and take transit to work more than almost any other city in America," said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities.
"An important step in making our streets safe for all travelers is to modernize the code to reflect the changing needs of our city," she added.
The bill, she said, "provides the city with important tools to do so."