Chicago Alderman Proposes $25 Annual Bike Tax

bikerChicago Alderman Pat Dowell has proposed a plan that bicyclists in the city should pay a $25 annual bike registration fee as a way to raise revenue for the city. Ms. Dowell is hoping this would be an alternative to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed cable television tax hike. She also thinks that all cyclists should be required to take a “rules of the road” safety class. The safety part I can get behind, the tax? Not so much.

As the fee is proposed as just a way of increasing revenue for the city of Chicago and does not directly benefit transportation let alone cycling, I’m not sure it’s a good idea. Even Emanuel doesn’t think so.

Emanuel nodded at the difficulty of enforcing such registration, especially in a city with entrenched violent crime. “I surely don’t want police involved in policing whether you bought a bike license,” he said.

I posted this link on my facebook and the comments immediately went off course (non-bicycle commuting) people began to bitch about cyclists lack of regard for the rules of the road. As someone who both drives and bicycles as a way of commuting on a regular basis, I must admit that rule-breaking cyclists can be quite irritating. (Yes, I’m looking at you dude who is riding the WRONG WAY in the bicycle lane.)

Not only do I believe that this tax would be something very difficult to enforce, but it seems like it would be the beginning of a slippery slope. What would be next? A pedestrian tax?

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