Alderman proposes $25 annual bike fee, safety course - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Alderman defends proposal for $25 annual bike fee, safety course

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Chicago alderman says no more free rides for bicyclists.

3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell proposed a $25 dollar annual registration fee for bikes at Wednesday's City Council meeting. Bikers would also be required to take a one hour safety course.

Dowell said the city could use the money for the deficit. She also believes bicyclists should pay for the increasing number of protected bicycle lanes taking over the streets that have eliminated lanes previously existing for cars.

The proposal is not a popular one with bikers.

John Greenfield commutes to work on his bike every day. He's the editor for Streetsblog Chicago, a transportation news website. He says the bike tax will only discourage a positive trend.

"It's definitely not a good idea," Greenfield said. "I mean, lets raise taxes on things we want to discourage--and not biking what we want to encourage."

On Thursday afternoon, Dowell released more information about her plan to help decrease the city's $338 million deficit that would replace an increase in cable TV taxes; although she did admit she has yet to work through all the details.

"With about 200,000 bikes in Chicago--and I believe that's a low estimate--the city could raise $5 million," Dowell said.

Dowell, a bicyclist herself, says children and seniors would be exempted from the bike tax but said she hasn't figured out what the penalties would be if bicyclists failed to register and install a license plate.

"I think the fact that city has invested heavily in bike lanes, lights and signage and we're seeing more bike riding...we need to account for bikes on street," she explained.

"There's really no practical way to do this," Greenfield countered. "Police officers in Chicago better things to do than see if licensed or not."

One thing Greenfield does support is mandatory bike safety courses that would accompany the tax.

Alderman Dowell also argues there is a precedent for such a bike tax. Although not common, she mentioned Honolulu as one of the cities that has a bike tax. But Greenfield says in Ottawa, where there is a bike tax, law enforcement has had problems enforcing the law and it's proven to be costly.

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Politics NewsMore>>

  • Mayors' group pushes for pension reform

    Mayors' group pushes for pension reform

    Monday, April 21 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-21 16:04:17 GMT
    money-roll-genericmoney-roll-generic
    More than two dozen Illinois mayors are set to hold a news conference, hoping to encourage state lawmakers to make changes to pension systems for local police and fire departments.
    More than two dozen Illinois mayors are set to hold a news conference, hoping to encourage state lawmakers to make changes to pension systems for local police and fire departments.
  • US Sen. Durbin says he's taking Oberweis seriously

    US Sen. Durbin says he's taking Oberweis seriously

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:10 AM EDT2014-04-20 15:10:55 GMT
    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he's taking his opponent in the November election more seriously than any challenger since he first was elected to the Senate.
    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he's taking his opponent in the November election more seriously than any challenger since he first was elected to the Senate.
  • Quinn: Tighter controls after Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead

    Quinn: Tighter controls after Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-04-20 01:57:44 GMT
    The state of Illinois is trying to recoup roughly $12 million its Medicaid program paid in medical services for dead recipients.
    The state of Illinois is trying to recoup roughly $12 million its Medicaid program paid in medical services for dead recipients.
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices