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https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/mayor-office-candidate-doroth...

In the last several years, Chicago has seen an explosion in the number of bike lanes created and opened. The lanes clearly demarcate sections of the roads for cycling downtown and in the neighborhoods. This is a wonderful initiative that encourages health and fitness, and may reduce the number of cars on the crowded streets of Chicago.

Like everything in life, the bike lanes came at a cost. It should have been the users—cyclists—who paid since they are the main beneficiaries of the service. They didn’t pay because Chicago does not have a bicycle registration tax.

The cities of Honolulu and Colorado Springs have successfully collected bicycle registration fees and used revenues for bicycle infrastructure improvements. I would create a bicycle registration fee program to pay for improvements to bike lanes.

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Thanks for posting Bob.

And yet... with regards to a commuter tax...

"No. Many if not most commuters work downtown because that is where the jobs are located. I see no reason to tax them for coming to and working in the City, where they support retailers, restaurants and other services."

Um, so people that drive a car support retailers, restaurants, and other services but cyclists? well, we just pollute the environment, require expensive infrastructure, require a lot of parking... oh, wait.


Dorothy Brown, STOP catering to the motorists and expecting cyclists to pay more for riding a bike when it costs LESS. Cyclists pay taxes just like people that drive. ARGH. 

This is idiotic.

I live and work in the City of Chicago. In addition to several bikes, I also own a car and a home. I happily pay boatloads of taxes including sales, property taxes, vehicle registration taxes, etc, and am pleased that my tax dollars go directly to funding things like bike infrastructure. I should not have to pay extra (in addition to the taxes I already pay) to have streets that are safe for bikes, regardless of my use of them.  Someone who doesn't own a home or a car should also not have to pay extra to have streets that are safe for bikes, regardless of how they use them. 

What's next? Are we going to start talking about charging entrance fees to neighborhood parks? After all, like everything in life, those parks come at a cost. It should be the users - park goers - who pay since they are the main beneficiaries of the service. Maybe we can look at a stroller registration tax. 

Hear! Hear!

Excellent post, Phillip Hutchinson.

By the way, Colorado Springs charges a one-time fee of $4 for new bikes sold. Hawaii charges a $15 one-time fee for new bikes sold. Oregon has recently enacted a similar law to Hawaii that went into effect in 2018, and charges a $15 one-time fee for new bikes over $200. For reference - Oregon does not have sales tax and Hawaii's sales tax is just 4%. 

These fees do not generate a ton of money in the big scheme of things. Colorado Springs has had the $4 fee on the books since 1988 and has generated just $2.3 million in that 31 years. Oregon initially projected $1M per year on their fee, but they have since revised that figure to around $450k per year, and the money in Oregon is only spent on off-street trails, not on-street infrastructure. 

These fees only apply to new bikes sold at brick-and-mortar stores. A fee like this would put Chicago bike shops at a competitive disadvantage to suburban stores who wouldn't have to charge the fee. 

https://www.opb.org/news/article/bike-tax-oregon-revenue-projection...

On a good note, I just heard she is being investigated by the FBI...

Ms. Brown has been under federal investigation for a long time, including now. I have never heard anyone say anything positive about her tenure as Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, and would hope she garners very few votes for mayor.

For example -https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/details-probe-alleged-job-buying-...

The feds are very thorough in their investigations.  They move slowly, like a python, but are equally inescapable once they get hold of someone.  Ask Ed Burke.  I wouldn't count on Dorothy being able to serve out her term even if she is elected, which she won't be. 

+1  This corrupt hack deserves to go down in flames, along with Burke.

These fees do not generate a ton of money in the big scheme of things. Colorado Springs has had the $4 fee on the books since 1988 and has generated just $2.3 million in that 31 years. Oregon initially projected $1M per year on their fee, but they have since revised that figure to around $450k per year, and the money in Oregon is only spent on off-street trails, not on-street infrastructure.

If the parking in bike lanes was enforced, how much income would that produce?  What is her response on ticketing motorists who park in the bike lanes? 

I'm not sure why anyone would think their property taxes should fund a private, exclusive boat parking spot in a Chicago Park District harbor, so I assume you're just comparing the state registration fee, which the Illinois DNR collects? 

The issue I have with this comparison is that a boat is a luxury item used exclusively for recreational purposes. If you can't afford the $60 annual registration for your $50,000 Sea Ray, you just don't get to go boating on the weekends anymore. The same is not true for a bicycle, which for many people is their only means of transportation and something they rely on for employment. It should also be pointed out that $60/year on a $50k boat is the equivalent of $6/year on a $500 bike. Do you think that's what Dorthy Brown has in mind for her proposed bike registration fee? Somehow I doubt it. 

Furthermore, I wonder how boaters would react if they had to pay those same registration fees and then were told they could only use a tiny portion of the lake that is often too shallow and rocky for them to safely boat in, because the other 90% of it is reserved exclusively for some other type of use that is also extremely dangerous for them to operate next to? 

Look, I get that the city is broke and needs to find revenue streams and has financial issues. That's not what this argument is about. A bike registration fee is not going to plug the budget holes. It's a symbolic appeal from a failing politician to try to earn votes from motorists who complain that cyclists are using "their" roads and should either start paying up, or get the hell out of their way.

"It's a symbolic appeal from a failing politician to try to earn votes from motorists who complain that cyclists are using "their" roads and should either start paying up, or get the hell out of their way."

Very well said!

Yeah, well... would those fees help create a stolen bike recovery task force? Eh, no. Unenforceable boondoggle. As if traffic & parking division didn't already have enough work they're already not doing.

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