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Mell: Could Chicago Require Bicycle Licenses?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 27, 2011 1:30PM

2011_10_27_mell.jpg 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell is one of City Council's longest-serving and powerful aldermen. When he asks a question, people listen.

Mell, chairman of City Council's Rules Committee, posed a question for Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein yesterday during budget hearings. (Emphasis ours.)

“I wonder if it’s possible. I guess you can’t do it. But, have ’em licensed. Have a bike license. Put a little tag on it. Pay a couple bucks. But if not that, at least say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing for you. How ’bout doing something for us? How ’bout adhering to the traffic signs?’” Mell said.

Don't take Mell's quote, or what we emphasized, as an indication that bicyclists across the city will suddenly have to pony up for the privilege of being cussed out by drivers. The complications that would arise from trying to implement it are untold and it would only exacerbate the frosty relations between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. This is more a case of Mell simply thinking aloud, especially as Klein moves to install over 100 more miles of protected bike lanes in the next four years to fulfill Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pledge to make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in America.

Mell did indicate he's content with public service announcements that all moving vehicles must adhere to the rules of the road.

“Some of the bike riders, even in my ward, are upset with some of the other bike riders who put them in the same bag as everybody else. They run right through the red lights. They could care less,” the alderman said.

Mell took the words right out of our mouth.

Active Transportation Alliance executive director Ron Burke said the best deterrent to reckless cycling is enforcing the laws that are already on the books.