As Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other City Hall officials look for a way to close Chicago's massive budget deficit, one South Side Alderman has suggested a $25 yearly registration fee for the city's cyclists.
Following Emanuel's budget address Wednesday, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) tossed her bike fee idea into the ring as a potential "significant" revenue generator, though it was unclear how such a fee would be enforced.
"I have suggested some other ways of raising revenue," Dowell told the Tribune. "For example, having bike owners, of which I am one, pay some kind of registration fee -- $25 -- and at the same time you register you also take a class on bike safety and rules of the road. And that could be a significant generator of revenue."
Dowell proposed the fee as a possible alternative to Emanuel’s plan to jack up the amusement tax on cable television bills by 50 percent.
The famously bike-friendly mayor, meanwhile, balked at the idea to the Sun-Times editorial board when he reportedly said, “Privileges? I mean — bikes were here before I got here and bikes will be here when I leave,” noting that ad revenue from the Divvy bike share program funds the city's bike lane expansions.
Dowell's suggestions come as somewhat of a surprise after she said this summer, 'People here need some encouragement to be able to get on a bike and travel throughout the city.'"
Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance previously called bike licensing -- which has come up before -- "extremely complicated to implement, and it’s not a deterrent to reckless cycling."