Be a better neighbor. Sign up for EveryBlock to follow and discuss neighborhood news.

Sign up for free →

Added Jan 08 2015

License plates for bicycles. It's about time the cyclists made a contribution to road upkeep (all those lines and cones that identify the bike lanes) and cost of police patrol. It doesn't have to be a lot.

Also, license plates on bikes help drivers identify the cyclists who drive outside the bike lanes, cut in front of them (to make a left turn) and violate the "Rules of the Road." In the past three years I've only seen three cyclists actually stop for a red light or stop sign instead of just coasting through.

  • pervy vee Another dude who abides

    YEAH!!! We should make those entitled pedestrians wear plates on their butts too! Why do WE have to pay for THEIR sidewalks???? This would also cut down on J-walking. I'm with YOU man!

  • Bek Pray for peace, everywhere!

    Thank you for abiding; wish everyone would.

  • rene One of Morty's people

    No. It is well documented that bike lanes actually save the city money. Here is a 2013 article, one of thousands that come up when you google "bikes save money."

    If you don't want to read the whole thing, here is the most important part:

    The economy benefits by more than $21 every time a person cycles 20 minutes to work and back and $8.50 each time a person walks 20 minutes to and from work...

  • Bek Pray for peace, everywhere!

    Interesting artcle, even though the monetary figure is based on costs in Sydney (Australia) so it's probably even a higher figure here. It is my opinion that since the costs of using the roads has consistently risen (city stickers, license plate fees) that all users should share the costs. Drivers pay more for less available driving space. The city/state is facing a massive $ shortage with the upcoming need to fund the pensions, this could help put more money in the coffers.

  • Bek Pray for peace, everywhere!

    Just a small clarification...this is a suggestion for a tax revenue source, not a dis to cyclists. The environment thanks cyclists for reducing carbon footprints and so do I.

  • cyclists should also be required to follow the rules of the road.

  • Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road.

  • I moved to Chicago a little over a year ago from Minneapolis/St. Paul, an urban center with a profoundly different approach to bicycling. In short, the Twin Cities takes biking as a means of commuting and transportation seriously, maintaining the roads to make them smooth for everyone's safety, creating bike lanes when possible, promoting the use and creation of bike trails free of cars, creating designated bikeways on roads too narrow to create separate bike lanes, and finally, heavily promoting awareness among bicyclists and automobile drivers so that everyone shares the road safely and legally.

    In short, Minneapolis/St. Paul spends a significant amount of money to make bicycling safe, easy, and viable as a means to commute, but funny enough, does not require bicyclists to purchase license plates. License plates are not the way to address your concerns, as it's just giving more power to the surveillance state to monitor our actions.

    If you're concerned about bicyclists obeying traffic laws, have you thought about getting involved in bicycling community groups invested in similar conversations?

    And finally, as someone who has bicycled in Chicago and who obeys traffic laws, cars are tend to be so much more dangerously disrespectful and/or unaware of bicyclists in Chicago than in Minneapolis/St. Paul that at times, I'm forced to break traffic laws for my own safety (biking on the sidewalk, or running a red light in a dead intersection to get away from an aggressive car who has nearly hit me, etc.)

  • cyclists are not required to follow the rules of the road. Several years ago I was pulling out of the garage where I worked onto an east bound (one way street) when who should appear in my blind spot? two grown men on one bycicle. one driving/pedaling one standing on pegs headed west bound. we collided. Thank God they were not hurt (till they found out I had insurance) but I did have to fill out an accident report. I explained the situation and made sure that it was noted in the report that they were #1. two grown men on a child's bike and #2 going the wrong way on a one way street. The police officer told me that cyclists DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD.

    Regardless of how little (but I doubt it) it costs to put up special lanes, markers etc cyclists should pay their fair share.

  • MLP19 Keeping an eye out

    Bicyclists are technically required to follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately in my experience, many of them don't. I agree that drivers need to be aware of cyclists, but it definitely goes both ways, especially when it comes to traffic signals. Stop signs and stop lights DO apply to cyclists.

  • Nothing personal, Bek, but I think this is a terrible idea. The last thing we want to do is make it more difficult and more expensive for people to ride their bikes - quite the opposite, we want to try to encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes however possible. Biicycles reduce traffic and pollution, increase public health, and cause almost zero wear and tear on pavement as compared to cars and trucks. If we ever reach the point (and I sure hope we do) that bicycles become the primary form of transportation on our city roads, this could be a good idea, but at this point in time I think we are a very long way off from that.

    @Janet, I don't know what that cop was talking about, but traffic rules absolutely do apply to cyclists. While there are some exceptions, riding the wrong way on a one way street is NOT one. The basic municipal code is 9-50-010, "Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights AND SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE DUTIES applicable to the driver of a vehicle by the laws of this state declaring rules of the road applicable to vehicles or by the traffic ordinances of this city applicable to the driver of a vehicle". If you are interested, you can read all of the code here

  • Jeanne Marie Mondrella-Keating Real Estate Broker and Chicago Highrise Rep

    I would think that since the cyclists now have a lane on the City streets, as well as lights at intersections, they have to follow the rules of the road. Actually, I am waiting for them have to pay some type of city tax for the lane usage such as vehicles with City Stickers.

  • @DC Going the wrong way on a one way street for a motor vehicle is illegal. riding a bycicle the wrong way on a one way street wasn't. That is what the police officer told me. Presently we do not have enough police to curb the crime problems in this city. Who is going to police the cyclists? Some are good however there are a lot that are not. something really does need to be done.

  • @Janet, I understand that's what the cop said, but I'm saying he was wrong. It's right there in the municipal code.

    As for policing cyclists, sure it would be nice if we had enough police to effectively monitor every law in this city, state and country and dish out citations to every violator. I think this every time I see some idiot in a car blow through a stop sigh, which happens multiple times daily. Sadly we don't have enough police, so given this fact, who would you rather they focus their limited resources on?

  • you are right where do we need the most policing? as far as telling a police officer he is wrong....don't want to take the chance of getting them mad at me.

    I cannot cross my street without looking both ways twice, cars in my area not only disobey stop signs but also speed limits. Cyclists in my area also go through stop signs and lights, cut in front of drivers, ride on the wrong side of the street and when in bike lanes go in the opposite direction. they ride their two and three children to school on one bycicle as well. My thoughts are that maybe if they knew a ticket was involved with their reckless riding they might be more careful.

  • Bonasera Pro communist pro euthanasia

    I'm not sure how to feel about this one?!?!? One thing that I am sure of is that bike riders need to follow the rules of the road. I drive ALOT and am exposed to a lot of bike riders and many of them not all, ignore stop signs and other things.. Unfortunately some pay with their lives. I have come very close to hitting a bike rider that has ignored a stop sign and they look at me like it's my fault


    "There are a few reasons almost all major cities don’t license bikes: It would discourage people from using a healthy, affordable mode of transport, and it would cost more to administer and enforce than it would generate in fees."

    "Taxes and vehicle registration fees are needed to help pay for the costs of maintaining roads, but people who bike already do pay for roads through other forms of taxation, and bicycling inflicts almost no wear-and-tear on roadways. In fact, since road degradation is proportional to the fourth power of a vehicle’s weight, every time someone bikes instead of drives a car, they help lower future maintenance costs. Discouraging people from biking again makes no fiscal sense."

    The author also points out that driving is disproportionately dangerous to all road users, which is why operators of motor vehicles are required to obtain licenses. A licensing scheme for bicycles, as DCHydePark points out, would discourage a transportation mode that we should encourage.

  • TM BVille 9 year resident

    I agree cyclist should have a tag or licensee for a small fee. They use roads like any other vehicle and it could lend to more accountability for cyclist and motorists alike.

    Why do people who ride bikes get their panties in a bunch so quickly? They are hyper defensive when the know good and well they don't obey traffic laws.

    Heck I don't always follow traffic rules either when riding! I blame my Map My Ride App! I'm always trying to improved time, calories burned and average mph! ;) lol

  • rene One of Morty's people

    "Why do people who ride bikes get their panties in a bunch so quickly?"

    It's purely self-interested, but not likely the way you might think. If it were required to I would pay a fee, but many people would just not ride. So the reason that we react to nonsense ideas like license plates on bikes is because we don't want to discourage others from riding. The fewer people who ride, the less resources (bike racks, bike lanes, bike shops...) will be made available to those who do.

    Besides, when it has been proven over and over that bike commuters save the city money, why should they be expected to pay an additional fee? At what age would one need to start licensing their bike? What about those who can't afford the fee and the bike is their only form of transportation?

    Here is the best part: science and economics are on our side. I would be willing to bet the cost of a bike license plate that there will never be a fee associated with bikes in Chicago.

  • Jeanne Marie Mondrella-Keating Real Estate Broker and Chicago Highrise Rep

    I highly doubt that people would not ride if having to pay a fee. There are now bike lanes and bike lights -- which is city property and part of the road. Most of downtown mainways are down to one lane due to the bike lane usage -- which is fine, but again, everyone on the road, should have to obey the laws of the road.

  • Vic neighbor

    When motorists stop speeding and talking on their phones and start using their turn signals I'll be glad to follow all the rules of the road.

  • I doubt those who ride bikes have deep pockets. This would be like another tax on the working poor.

  • Well, VoxNocturne, if you go to 24th and Western, you can get a $40 bike; on 18th and Racine, an $800 bike. Anyone with an $800 bike has deep pockets...

  • @Vic poor excuse for not following the rules of the road. I see just as many people on bikes talking on their phones and texting. "I'm going to blow the red light and cause an accident because somewhere in the neighborhood someone is driving while texting." All the more reason you need to not only follow the rules of the road BUT ALSO ride safely/defensively.

    @Vox there are alot of of people who drive junk cars and still pay for plates and stickers. Having to pay for them did not stop them from driving.

    @Jorge, Thank You good point.

    at one point you could drive a vespa free of charge. Now it costs $90.00 a year.

  • rene One of Morty's people

    Some people bike because it is more affordable, some do it for health, some for convenience, some for joy... most for all of these. Those of us who are accustom to riding would probably continue to ride if an absurd tax was levied on bike lanes. However, it's the new riders that would be discourage.

    And to be even more honest, most people would just keep riding and simply not pay the fee. It would be about as enforceable as those dog license that so few pups wear. (Full disclosure, Mort has all his tags and stickers, but I know plenty of dogs who don't.)

  • Bonasera Pro communist pro euthanasia

    @ Vic...when it comes to bicycle - automobile accidents the bike rider usually gets the short end of the stick... Car drivers I would think get physically hurt a lot less than bike riders... So that outlook won't help anyone

  • I hope that pedestrians are charged a license to walk the sidewalks soon.

    They text, the talk on their phone, they don't pay attention when crossing and can cause accidents when they jaywalk. We need to reign in the disregard of laws that pedestrians regularly show to make them accountable by requiring a license to walk the city sidewalks. Just think of the tax revenue!

    Yes, some people walk the sidewalks wearing $5 shoes from the thrift store because they are poor, but some people wear shoes worth many hundreds of dollars, and you can't tell me they don't have deep pockets to help pay for the police to monitor neighborhood safety and to help pay for sidewalk maintenance.

  • Sorry Johnny... You have an $800 bike !

  • Jeanne Marie Mondrella-Keating Real Estate Broker and Chicago Highrise Rep

    How about everybody, whether on bike or in vehicle, follow the rules of the road and everyone pay their equal share. All treated equally!!!!!!

  • What happens if I ride an old Bianchi worth $40 and have an accident involving a pedestrian wearing $800 Baldininis, a rider on a $2000 Vespa and a driver of a $200,000 Lamborghini?

  • Tony Adams curmudgeon

    License plates for bikes is a terrible idea. In addition to all the great reasons listed above, the idea is based on an incorrect premise that the fees drivers pay pays for all the costs of "road upkeep". This is not even remotely true. Our roads and all their associated costs are highly subsidized by all taxpayers, not just those who happen to by license plates. See

    As has been noted already, we need to do all we can to encourage biking (and walking and riding transit) and not put up any more barriers to these safer and healthier and more efficient means of transportation.

  • Jeanne Marie Mondrella-Keating Real Estate Broker and Chicago Highrise Rep

    same as a vehicle, everyone has insurance. That is why they call them accidents!

  • JL

    So what's next after licenses plates for bikes?
    Mandatory bike insurance.
    This is (B S).
    The amount will be very very small and grow over time
    just like on cars.
    Looks the kids will not be getting bicycles for x- mas or there birthdays
    I know I'm going to get a lot heat on this next statment.
    It's just another way to squeeze more money out of the people.
    If this was to get pass every alderman who voted for it should be vote out of

  • Dragonfly Studio Chicago Dragonfly Studio Chicago owner

    I don't know about license plates, BUT I would really appreciate a tag or someway that I could identify the biker that squeezed between me and a bus while stopped at a red light. He hit my car with his bike or pedal hard enough to make a ding/scratch. He continued forward to go thru the red light, never stopped to check the damage he caused. By the time the light turned green he was so far gone and I was screwed.

  • South Loop truth Poliical activist

    We have bike lanes and the lack of safety and congestion is only because Rahm thinks that this is his constituency. They must be taxed and charged criminally when they cause accidents. Unfortunately Rahm won't allow. He has to go. The congestion is horrible but it sure does take care of Rahms donors who build the bike lanes. Fioretti for mayor.

  • I have been hit by bicycles twice in the past 4 years. Once while walking on the sidewalk which cost be a $400 pair of glasses, a pair of jeans and multiple bruises and cuts. The bike rider was a man in his late 20's riding a mountain bike down 47th on the sidewalk with no concern for anyone. When the cops and ambulance arrived he got a $50 ticket. The cops said they knew the guy, he was a druggie that they dealt with regularly. The second time I was crossing the street in the crosswalk with the walk light when another idiot going the wrong way on a one way street thought everyone should lookout for him. Luckily no one was hurt but needless to say I was not happy. He was another grown man who should know better. Yes, vehicle drivers violate laws and so do the bike drivers. I don't care if it cost them money, adult bikers at a minimum need to have a city sticker of some sort to remind them of their responsibility to follow the law. They need to be ticketed more regularly also when they violate the laws. On a regular basis I see them running the bicycle red lights downtown so it wouldn't be hard to set some examples.

  • I would just like to make a few points that I haven't seen made yet:

    1) What if you're both a driver and cyclist? If you own/drive a car you would already be paying for road upkeep, etc.

    2) If the city wanted to even consider this idea, they would've given license plates to the Divvies (which are linked to a credit card).

    3) I can see bad cyclists just turning into bad drivers (which would make them more dangerous to us all).

    @Jorge: A one-time $800 payment for a bike that you take care of that lasts 5+ years (with little to no additional costs for maintenance) would only take scrimping and saving like 2 paychecks (for a full-time worker). Compare that to $100 monthly CTA bus pass, you would be saving money on the long run. Also, you can't even buy a used car for $800. If you were poor, but wise, which would you choose?

    We should have a role-reversal day in which a group of drivers experience what it's like to be a cyclist on the road and a group of cyclists become drivers who have to contend with bad cyclists.

    Another idea: let's tax expensive shoes. Everyone--pedestrians, cyclists, drivers-- wears shoes. If you can afford $400 pair of shoes, you can afford it, right?

  • Tony Adams curmudgeon

    South Loop Truth, are you suggesting that Fioretti is opposed to bike lanes? I searched his platform at and found no indication of his opposition. In fact, he actually pays a bit of lip service to the environment which would of course mean he is in favor of less cars and more transit, walking and bicycling when he says:
    "We will rebuild housing and improve living conditions and the environment."

    Are you aware of something he said against bike lanes elsewhere? Or are you just opposed to Rahm and bikes and are hoping that Fioretti will agree with you?

  • Tony Adams curmudgeon

    Here is an article about Bob Fioretti leading his annual Bike the 2nd Ward ride:
    The street they are riding on in the photo sure looks like it has a bike lane on it.

  • West loop realist Teacher political operative

    No one ever said Fioretti is against bikers. No wonder Rahm won with people voting who believe what tgey want not what is true. We need police not more bike lanes. The streets on Dearborn and Harrison are a disaster thanks to your boy Rahm. He has to go.

  • Brian McCarthy Waiting for the Sequel to the Big Lebowski

    When I was growing up in Oak Lawn (let's say the 1970's), we were required to register bicycles and display a plate. I don't know why it stopped, but it seems even more relevant today.

  • South Loop truth Poliical activist

    Rahm doesn't want to upset bike owners no matter how much damage they do. Rahm thinks Chicago is a little town in California not a city with bad weather. He is a know it all.

  • What a terrible idea.

  • Wow, nothing makes me less likely to vote for someone than when that person's supporters attempt to co-opt every possible conversation and twist it into some sort of endorsement of their candidate or criticism of the opposing candidate. We were having a really interesting and reasonably respectful debate here until the Loopy posters joined in and brought their soapboxes with them. Excellent work "Truth" and "Realist", you're turning my support pretty strongly against Fioretti.

  • South Loop truth Poliical activist

    Rahm will be happy. Let the little bike people pay, that's my opinion.

21 neighbors are subscribed to this conversation.

Posted to South Loop

This was posted to South Loop

What's the news in your neighborhood? Search for your ZIP code:

e.g. 60615