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Alderman Calls For License Requirement For Bicyclists

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If one alderman has his way, the city might soon ask bike riders to pony up money for the privilege of riding on Chicago streets.

As CBS 2's David Morrison reports, Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) said at a City Council budget hearing that he would like to see a license required for bicyclists to use the streets of Chicago. He said cyclists should be required to pay "a couple bucks" for "a little tag," the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Mell said he gets frustrated with cyclists who run red lights and otherwise disobey traffic laws, the newspaper reported.

Mell said if it is not possible to require licenses for cyclists, he would like to see public service announcements targeting reckless behavior, the Sun-Times reported.

A proposal to require licensing for cyclists is likely to be a hard sell. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has plans to make Chicago the bike-friendliest city in the country, by installing 100 miles of protected bike lanes over the next four years.

A protected bike lane is already in place on Kinzie Street between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street.

At the hearing, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said cyclists are required to abide by the law like everyone else, but did not respond to the licensing suggestion, the Sun-Times reported.

Active Transportation Alliance executive director Ron Burke tells the newspaper that bicycle licensing is complicated to enforce and does not deter misbehavior, and nowhere in the U.S. that he knows of requires it.

Police instituted a crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists at one intersection close to downtown this past June, issuing 240 warnings and one ticket for cyclists who ran red lights and took over crosswalks intended for pedestrians, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

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