Today’s Headlines

  • Otherwise Bike-Friendly Alderman Pat Dowell Calls for Licensing Cyclists (Sun-Times, CBS)
  • Licensing Bikes Is a Bad Idea (Active Trans, NBC, Transitized)
  • Driver Kills Seven-Year-Old Boy on His Way to School In Chicago Heights (Tribune)
  • Motorist Who Fatally Struck Senior in Glenview Was Not Cited (Tribune)
  • At Sentencing Hearing For Drunk Driver, Officer Recalls the Fatal Crash (Tribune)
  • Pennsylvania Trucker Cited in Bartlett Metra Crash (CBS)
  • CTA Slow Zones Are Down to 10.8 Percent of the System (RedEye)
  • Pace Announces Mail-in Program to Transfer Unused Balances to Ventra (Tribune)
  • Green Dot Stickers Added to Ventra Card Readers Show You Where to Tap (RedEye)
  • Mundelein Police Chief Concerned About Halloween Pedestrian Safety (Tribune)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • CL

    “Dowell said she hoped to substitute the $10 million in revenues generated by bike licenses for Emanuel’s plan for a 50 percent increase in the amusement tax”

    See how it feels??

  • Fred

    As a cyclist, I wouldn’t mind paying a small annual fee if it meant better bike facilities. I’m just not sure how you go about implementing that. The devil is in the logistics. Police aren’t going to pull over cyclists to check for licenses any more than they do so far cars.

    Better way to go would probably be a bicycle sales tax (like the bottled water tax) where there is an extra $20 tax on all bike purchases within the city. The city does levy an extra tax on car purchases for city residents, whether or not you purchase within the city limits.

  • Chicagio

    I’m fine paying a bike fee to support bike infrastructure so long as I get to deduct, from my property taxes, the amount that goes to maintain auto-oriented infrastructure.
    But that would be ridiculous since, even though i don’t drive, i benefit from other people being able to drive. Just like drivers benefit from other people biking. Either everyone pays for a public utility or everyone doesn’t. Some user fees, where easily implementable and fair, make sense. Others are just people (like Ald. Dowell) trolling for attention.

    Edit: Really this whole post was just an excuse to link to one of my favorite Onion articles:,1434/

  • CL, you’re comparing the proposed bicycling tax to the proposals for higher fees for illegal parking, smoking cigarettes and watching cable television. Which one of these things is not like the others?

  • CL

    Ah, but this is about public safety, since the license comes with a required one-hour course designed to educate cyclists about the rules of the road. After all, we have an epidemic of (illegal!) stop sign running in this city.

  • Kevin M

    I do think urban cycling education is way overdue. CPS should mandate this for every high school kid as a graduation requirement.

    But the point of such safety education isn’t so much for the general public as it is for the cyclists’ safety. While blowing stop signs, etc, is rude/wrong to the other uses of the road & sidewalks, the greatest health threat from this type of inappropriate cycling is to the cyclist.

    How many pedestrians have been injured in Chicago by cyclists in the last year, 5 years, 10 years? I would bet the numbers are very low—and are infinitesimal when compared with the number of pedestrian injuries (& deaths!) caused by unsafe & illegal automobile-driving.

  • Guest

    You’re right. We do have an epidemic of illegal stop sign running here. I live on a corner and watch cars roll through the stop every single day. Do bikes run stop signs? Sure. Do cars run stop signs? Of course. The difference: if I run a stop sign on my bike, I expose myself to physical harm. If you run a stop sign in your car, you put everyone else in danger.

  • Guest

    I suppose I could get behind the education requirement IF all licensed drivers were required to participate as well, regardless of interest in biking. Imagine how much better drivers would likely treat cyclists if everyone had to log some time as a bicyclist in order to get or renew their drivers license.

  • CL

    The state has just as much interest in you not getting yourself killed as it has in me not hurting you with my car. Anyway, drivers already pay much more than $25.

    I don’t actually support bike licenses, I’m just saying…

  • Scott Sanderson

    It feels OK to me! In my view, drivers pay nominal taxes for almost complete use of the roads. If I could get that kind of value for my money, I would pay more!

  • Anonymous

    This is definitely something that can easily be integrated into high school driver’s ed programs. It’d be much better if they changed them to “Transportation Ed” programs and focused on bicyclists safety along with a heavy focus on how to drive cars when bicyclists are present.

    Regardless, the Alderman’s proposal isn’t a serious proposal to address a bike safety course. The $25 fee wouldn’t even cover the costs of the registration and licensing let alone a 1 hour bike safety course. It also doesn’t address the fact that it is pointless to have a bike safety course that does not involve all car drivers teaching them how to drive with bikes on the road.

  • Jennifer

    Driver Kills Seven-Year-Old Boy on His Way to School In Chicago Heights (Tribune)

    Motorist Who Fatally Struck Senior in Glenview Was Not Cited (Tribune)

    At Sentencing Hearing For Drunk Driver, Officer Recalls the Fatal Crash (Tribune)

    Pennsylvania Trucker Cited in Bartlett Metra Crash (CBS)

    If only motor vehicle drivers were required to be licensed and insured, take mandatory safety classes, and register their vehicles.

  • Chicagio

    Because the Illinois Toll Authority doesn’t think enough people are dying on our roadways…,0,2623890.story

  • Chicagio

    I remember when i was taking driver’s ed in high school, we had 2 days of motorcycle instruction (not how to ride a motorcycle but how to drive around them safely.) Why doesn’t the state require all high school students in driver’s ed receive a few hours of instruction about how to bike safely and how to drive around bikes safely? Then they could incorporate it into the licensing exam. This works better than any new fees or classes because it works within programs that already exist.

  • Anonymous

    The reason may be that, in most parts of the state the majority of drivers likely have never and possibly will never encounter a cyclist on the road. (Which is not to say such instruction would be a bad idea or wouldn’t promote cycling.)

  • Guest

    I’ll grant the state doesn’t want me to die, but I suspect it has far more interest in making sure I don’t kill someone else. I think most people would agree a driver plowing over a pedestrian after running a stop sign is a more egregious infraction than a bicyclist smashing into a car after failing to yield to it.

    That’s the problem with the whole “increased enforcement” argument. Proponents don’t appear to give consideration to the potential for harm caused by a given action. I see drivers do dangerous and stupid stuff every day on my commute and they pose a far greater threat to other road users than any bicyclist ever could. Where are the calls for tighter restrictions on operating a car? The same people calling for bike enforcement are often the ones complaining about speed cameras and yet I would argue speed cameras will have a significantly greater safety effect than any bike enforcement ever could.

    There’s something to be said for lawless cyclists being rude (and that infuriates me as a cyclist just as much as it does drivers) but I see pedestrians jaywalk downtown every morning and afternoon – sometimes causing cars (and bikes) to slow or stop – and yet I don’t hear calls for greater enforcement of jaywalking rules.

  • When has a speed limit on a highway stopped people from driving 10% or more faster?

  • BlueFairlane

    When there’s a state trooper parked in the median.

  • Chicagio

    It hasn’t and that’s the problem. Most people see a speed limit of 65 and drive a little over 70. I would figure that with a speed limit of 70 people will drive about +/-77. Faster speeds increase the likelihood of an accident including fatalities. Although, i suppose the argument goes… if you get in an accident at 70 you’re probably dead, so why not drive a little faster?

  • Chicagio

    I know you’re not really arguing against the idea but I’d counter that the majority of drivers will rarely parallel park yet they’re still taught how.
    Also, you’d be surprised at how many people bike in rural areas. They’re definitely not bike commuters but, I’ve unleashed my fast road bike on a rural country road and it’s great. You can go for miles and never stop. It’s really a blast.

  • Anonymous

    Haha, yes, good point. I was taught to parallel park in a city where that skill was almost never required.