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NYC Proposal Offers Cash for Spotting Parking Violations in Bike Lanes

A bill that would allow New Yorkers to collect bounties for reporting bike-lane blockers is aimed at curtailing illegal parking. But some worry about unintended consequences.  

A bike lane on Sixth Avenue in New York City, where lawmakers are weighing a proposal to let residents report drivers who park illegally. 

A bike lane on Sixth Avenue in New York City, where lawmakers are weighing a proposal to let residents report drivers who park illegally. 

Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s a familiar experience for pedestrians and bicyclists — a car or truck parked in a bike lane or on the sidewalk forces a detour into the street — and into traffic. When vehicles block these travel paths, it's not just an annoyance and safety hazard. It’s illegal.

Now a New York City Council member is pushing a bill that would give civilians the power to report bike lane scofflaws, as well as vehicles that block entrances or exits of school buildings, sidewalks and crosswalks. New Yorkers who submit evidence of a parking violation can earn 25% of a proposed $175 ticket. The Department of Transportation would review the evidence to determine whether an infraction has occurred, according to the bill’s text.