By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority is adding bike patrols. The new officers will specifically monitor drivers who park illegally in bike lanes.

Spruce Street is the only continuously designated bike lane going west in Center City. The problem is oftentimes, cars or delivery trucks are parked in it. The hope is these new officers will change that.

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“Just look around. Parked all the time, makes the bike lanes pretty useless,” biker Nic Renard said.

The problem isn’t hard to find. Delivery trucks and cars parked illegally in bike lanes.

“One of the best things about being in Center City is these bike lanes and if we’re not able to use them and it causes hazards to bikes, no one is going to bike anymore,” biker Cori Beasley said.

Drivers can already be fined for parking in bike lanes, but now, the Philadelphia Parking Authority is adding bike patrols to monitor what could lead to a dangerous situation.

“I’m moving into traffic and I don’t know what the car next to me is going to do,” Renard said.

“Good idea. It’s very dangerous for bicyclists,” biker Ward Titus said. “Many have been killed in this city.”

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In a new report from PennDOT, the number of bicyclists killed in Philly is growing. In 2021, eight bicyclists were killed. Ten years ago, it was only two.

The PPA is adding eight bike officers. They will patrol bike lanes in Center City, South Philly and University City.

“We have medics on bicycles, we have lots of other enforcement officers on bicycles,” Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, said. “We have police on bikes, so there’s no reason why we can’t have parking enforcement on bikes.”

The new officers will be launched in the designated areas in the fall with plans to expand the program citywide within a year.

Fines will be $71 in Center City and $51 in outlying areas.

“I’m super happy the PPA is going to do that,” Beasley said. “They can make a lot of money.”

To remember the bicyclists killed over the last year in the greater Philadelphia area, bikers are uniting and going on a ride of silence on Wednesday night. They’re meeting at the City Hall at 6:30 p.m., going for a ride and then rejoining at the Art Museum.

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CBS3’s Jan Carabeo contributed to this report.