Tel Aviv sidewalk cyclists to face fine starting in May

Aside from giving out fines, enforcement officers might discipline violators by removing air from tires.

A man rides a bicycle during a sandstorm in Tel Aviv (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man rides a bicycle during a sandstorm in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Bike riders in the White City could face a NIS 250 fine beginning May 1, if they are caught riding outside designated bicycle lanes.
The Tel Aviv Municipality said Sunday police will begin to enforce the rule next month. To prepare bikers for this shift in advance, the city, Israel Police and the National Authority for Road Safety have begun a sidewalk campaign pointing cyclists toward bike lines and warning of fines.
Enforcement officers also will provide cyclists with a complete explanation of the city’s biking regulations as part of the campaign.
In addition to the penalty for riding outside bike lanes, fines ranging from NIS 100 to NIS 1,000 may be given to cyclists who go through red lights; ride in the opposite direction of traffic; use their mobile phones while riding; or interfere with pedestrians at crosswalks.
Enforcement officers also may discipline violators by removing air from the tires of their bicycles.
Furthermore, police plan to clamp down on underage electric cyclists by confiscating the vehicle’s battery.
In March, the Knesset’s Finance Committee approved a plan that would set a minimum legal age for electric-bike riding at 16 beginning April 1. A similar regulation was approved for electric-scooter riders starting in July. However, this has not yet been approved as a national law.
Bicycle use has shot up in Tel Aviv due to the popularity of electric bikes, as well as the city’s Tel-O-Fun municipal- bike rental network.
Israel first published regulations regarding electric-bicycle safety and use in 2010, but they expired in 2011, and were not renewed until September 2014. During much of that time without regulation, electric bicycles and scooters became wildly popular, with more than 120,000 imported into the country from 2013 to 2015.