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DC’s New, Bigger Bike Lane Enforcement Squad Can Issue Tickets Based on Photos

The catch: Their photos, not yours

Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

Twenty-six new parking enforcement officers will comb the District’s bike lanes for illegally parked vehicles to ticket, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday. The officers, who work for the Department of Public Works, will begin immediately, a press release says.

In even more good news for local cyclists, the bike-lane enforcement squad will be able to ticket interloping cars based on photos:

PEOs will be able to photograph vehicles blocking bike lanes and mail those citations to vehicle owners if they leave before the ticket can be directly presented to them. This was made possible by the District’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Support Act.

Anyone who’s reported a car parked in a bike lane (full disclosure: I am one) will welcome even a modest increase in enforcement. But many of these infractions are fleeting, and enforcement will still depend on whether the enforcement officers see, via their own eyes, a vehicle clogging up the one space you can sort of let your guard down when riding through town. Cyclists who ride with cameras and send images of bad behavior to DPW (full disclosure: I am one) will still mostly be recording errant cars to fuel our own bottomless sense of righteous indignation. Still: it’s something.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.