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Quigley: Any Bicycle License Plate Program Should Start With Pedicabs

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 6, 2013 2:00PM

Congressman Mike Quigley
Add U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley to the list of politicians concerned about pedicabs. The Fifth District congressman said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of license plates for bicyclists and said any such program should start with pedicabs.

Quigley made his remarks during a roundtable discussion about regional transportation issues hosted by him and University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter. Quigley noted that some pedicab drivers outside Wrigley Field, the United Center and other sporting venues “are all over the road and they are very scary at times.”

Because some of these folks are wildly irresponsible and are putting people at risk. Those should have licenses and license plates on them so people can identify the morons who put people’s lives at risk,” Quigley said.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) in May revived a proposal to license and regulate pedicabs, capping their number at 200, requiring cabs to post fare information and banning them from high-traffic areas such as Wrigley Field. Quigley’s suggestion Thursday was in response to a question about raising revenue for the increasing amount of buffered and protected bike lanes being installed in Chicago. The idea of licensing bicyclists was also questioned by former 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell in 2011; bicyclists promptly overreacted.

We’ll remind readers (and critics of bike lanes such as John Kass) that those lanes are already funded by tax increment financing; state and federal transportation dollars; and the Chicago Department of Transportation’s general obligation funds. Quigley acknowledged the prospect of licensing bicyclists could have “unintended consequences” by discouraging cycling as a means of transit. AAA Chicago spokeswoman Beth Mosher told the Sun-Times licensing bicyclists and pedicabs could help keep tabs of the “morons,” but “we don’t think that requiring such plates - even if every bicyclist were to register - would begin to put a dent in the funding required for bike lanes.” (AAA endorses bike lanes, by the way.)