Alderman Calls For License Requirement For Bicyclists

CHICAGO (CBS) — If one alderman has his way, the city might soon ask bike riders to pony up money for the privilege of riding on Chicago streets.

As CBS 2’s David Morrison reports, Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) said at a City Council budget hearing that he would like to see a license required for bicyclists to use the streets of Chicago. He said cyclists should be required to pay “a couple bucks” for “a little tag,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Mell said he gets frustrated with cyclists who run red lights and otherwise disobey traffic laws, the newspaper reported.

Mell said if it is not possible to require licenses for cyclists, he would like to see public service announcements targeting reckless behavior, the Sun-Times reported.

A proposal to require licensing for cyclists is likely to be a hard sell. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has plans to make Chicago the bike-friendliest city in the country, by installing 100 miles of protected bike lanes over the next four years.

A protected bike lane is already in place on Kinzie Street between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street.

At the hearing, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said cyclists are required to abide by the law like everyone else, but did not respond to the licensing suggestion, the Sun-Times reported.

Active Transportation Alliance executive director Ron Burke tells the newspaper that bicycle licensing is complicated to enforce and does not deter misbehavior, and nowhere in the U.S. that he knows of requires it.

Police instituted a crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists at one intersection close to downtown this past June, issuing 240 warnings and one ticket for cyclists who ran red lights and took over crosswalks intended for pedestrians, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

  • sean

    are you fu@**** kidding me!!!!!

    • Roberta Waker

      What’s next – a license for walking, taking the bus, jogging, sitting on your front porch? These tax/fee happy people need to go!!! These guys must stay awake nights trying to think of new ways to get money from honest taxpayers; instead of ways to cut spending like their “benefits” and “perks”. We need to fire all of them and start fresh with common sense people. Enough is enough already.

      • Mrs.

        Does anybody get the feeling that we are being punished for being a Chicago resident?

        We have a mayor who is all for “the children.” Yet our mayor is punishing the parents of these children by taking food out of the mouths of our children.

        My children cannot ride their bikes or walk our dog without fearing that an armed policeman is going to stop them for doing what has always been a very innocent act–walking a dog or riding a bike?

        I am not convinced that any politician gives a you-know-what about anybody’s children AT ALL. What galls me is that politicians find this “save the children” as being a safe platform to hide behind. It’s “for the children” who can oppose or argue that? But we all know it isn’t “for the children” at all because actions speak louder than words.

    • rwg

      First comes the license plate. Then comes the insurance. Then comes the mandatory safety equipment.

      You’ll see.

      The Aldermen see bicycle riders as the city’s biggest form of untapped revenue.

  • dan

    I see it now…..Those revenue guys that write tickets all day will be staking out the playgrounds looking for little johnny or susie to ride by so they can write them a ticket for not having their bike license plate sticker up to date.

    This is starting to get over the top

    Thin the bloated city workforce by 50%-eliminate the bs union work rules and put everyone including alderman oin a performanced base pay scale so if they fu@* off or do a lousy job they get fired on the spot-We will be running budget surplusses in the hundreds of millions before you know it!

  • cb

    Hey, since autos and other vehicles have to be licensed to use the streets, why not bicycles. Does not have to be much money. The point is to be able to identify those who put themselves or others in danger with risky and (for most vehicles) illegal maneuvers.

    • revenooer

      The “license plate” will be so small you won’t be able to read it, I’ll bet.

  • DP

    If you want to save money you need to take away the alderman’s 1.3 million dollar annual slush fund provided by us, the taxpayers. What that fund amounts to is taxpayer funded bribe money for votes and a personal expense account. One alderman uses this fund to lease himself the top of the line Lexus. I for one would like each alderman to post what exactly they spend this money on each year. Probably not what we would imagine. And why do we need 50 alderman? Cuts every where but the politicians. I’m sure they will vote themselves raises again this year like they do every year.

    • Roberta Waker

      You are soooo right. Why do we need 50 aldermen? Maybe we should outsource their jobs to 20 Chinese, Indians, or ??? who would do a much better job and be cheaper too.

  • b

    It is about time. I also ride a bike and drive a car. Mr. Mayor needs to promote the rules and laws riding bikes. Many bikers ride without anything reflective on or lights. They also do not know they are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk.(for kids under 12 only) They often change the rules for themselves and ride in the middle of the street, through red lights and stop signs and then look at you in the car like your nuts. They need to pay something. The streets are shrinking into more and more bike lanes which reduces traffic to one lane and slows autos down. The problem wiith that is auto fees are going sky high and we are getting less road but paying more. Everyone needs to share the cost.

  • Gary Dee, Portland, Oregon

    What if you live in Evanston or, to make things more complex, are from out of town (Portland, Oregon) and riding a borrowed suburban bicycle on the lakeshore bike path?

  • j

    Basically a tax that discourages people from exercising? FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU

  • John Law

    …and then…then we’ll start taxing pedestrians. By the foot. NO! Better by the TOE! Brilliant! I’m such a good henchman.

  • HGY

    I have five bikes and I’ll sooner kick this old man in da head before ponying up a license fee for all five bikes. Hey Love for God, find something else better to do than worrying about people on bikes, or nuts on dogs. If you even rode a bike once a while instead of puting around in your expensive gas guzzling suv, you would do this city some good for a change.

  • Chivi

    Too many aldermen!!

  • glad I no longer live in Chicago

    LEGALIZE POT AND TAX IT!!!! nuff said..

  • Reikichik

    In Honolulu, all bicycles with 20″ or larger wheels are required to be registered in the city and county. There is a one-time fee of $15 and a fee of $5 when transferring ownership of a bicycle. After payment of the fee, the owner is provided with a decal to be attached to the bicycle frame’s seat tube facing the forward direction. All taxes collected from the registration fees are deposited in a special bikeway fund which can only be used for bicycle-related City projects and programs.

    Would help defray the cost and maintenance of dedicated bike lanes in Chicago.

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