Cleveland City Council increases fines for blocking intersections, gives cyclists more road room

CLEVELAND - Cleveland City Council was busy Monday night, passing several new ordinances to end the first half of this year's legislative calendar.

As part of a new bicycle safety ordinance, drivers are required to give cyclists three feet of space along the road. The ordinance also makes Cleveland part of the National Bike Registry and prohibits harassing cyclists.

"We're seeing more and more people starting to bicycle in the city of Cleveland and, therefore, the are more and more interactions with motorists. We just want motorists to know it's not OK to push a bicyclist or to tap them or throw stuff at them," Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman said.

"Clearly, they have as much a right to the road as anyone else," Cimperman said. "What this is all about is saying to people that Cleveland is a bike-friendly city." He also said that people should know it's a less expensive travel option and one that's healthier.

Another ordinance addresses gridlock traffic, which has increased with more people coming into downtown Cleveland. The "Don't Block the Box" ordinance, which already exists in Chicago and New York City, increases the penalties for blocking intersections.

"This is something that is technically already on the books, but clearly people aren't paying attention to it," Cimperman said. "We see this a lot during snow storms."

City council would like to add signs at key intersections to remind drivers not to creep out into traffic. Though those locations are not officials, East 9th Street and Chester Avenue, East 9th Street and Walnut Avenue and West 25th Street and Bridge Avenue are possibilities.

The gridlock is unsafe for pedestrians and makes it difficult for emergency crews to navigate through, Cimperman said.

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