In Hamilton people are noticing a new parking enforcement officer cycling around town handing out regular tickets but focusing in on vehicles parked in the bike lanes. He’s even jumped on social media creating a new hashtag for bike riding Hamiltonians who are blocked in.
Aaron Griese is a Hamilton bylaw officer that patrols city streets out on a bike. He spots the difficulties cyclists have when cars are parked in designated bike lanes.
“It is very challenging because I would then have to swerve into traffic and potentially hurt myself.”
And that was the thought when the bylaw bike patrol began.
“Our officers are on the lookout for these types of violations in order to keep the city safe.”
Michael Newell is Aaron’s supervisor. He says a ticket for drivers parked illegally in a bike lane starts $26 dollars, but they can get steeper than that.
Throughout the day Aaron will respond to radio calls- sometimes getting there faster than officers in a car. In just a matter of minutes, he spots two violations. A truck next to a fire hydrant and a car parked on private property.
Over the long weekend at Albion Falls over 20 tickets in just one day for people using the bike lanes as parking.
While calling in to make a formal complaint is still the proper way to go, bylaw now has a twitter account that’s tracking blocked bike lanes.
The hashtag and twitter account is blockedinhamont.. You can share photos like these ones and alert officers like Aaron who check the account throughout the day, but the feed is not monitored 24-7.
“If you do see something that’s happening I would strongly suggest you call our office.”
And officers aren’t just looking for cars parked illegally but commercial vehicles and delivery trucks too.
The bylaw officers are not forced to jump on a bike, Aaron has volunteered to do the patrol and was trained by Hamilton Police in order to safely peddle around the city.