Monday, May 01, 2006

Can I Please Just Ride My Bicycle?

According to this article , there is a $56 dollar fine for "operating a bicycle without a license" in Milwaukee. Now then, let's travel to the City of Milwaukee Bicycle License Application Page , " If you live in the City of Milwaukee and you want to register your bicycle, please go to your nearest library or police station and ask for a Bicycle License tag." That, to me, reads as if a bicycle license is a nice thing you can get if you so desire. I dug a bit further to the FAQ section.. There we find Section 102 2 of the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances which states:

"102 2. License Required. It shall be unlawful for any resident of the city to operate or use a bicycle, operated alone or in part by muscular power, upon any of the streets, alleys or public highways of the city without first obtaining from the city a license therefor, and unless said bicycle is properly registered and a license sticker is affixed to the frame of such bicycle."

Now I'm clear as mud here. It appears one only needs to have a license IF one lives in the City of Milwaukee. To add to that, if you try to actually activate your license you will get a message "Note: This bicycle license registration is only for City of Milwaukee residents. If you are not a City of Milwaukee resident, please do not fill this form out." Very clear, non-milwaukee residents just don't need one. Right?

It does appear that there's a history here. Please tell me the Milwaukee Police are better than drumming up "bicycle license" tickets to make quotas and scare cyclists from riding their bikes in a bike friendly city.

Critical mass groups do seem to have their share of these kinds of stories surrounding their non-events. I have not been to one of these rides. But is it their legend or their actions that are getting them in trouble?

I would like to see cyclists and motorists get along. That means both groups knowing the rules and abiding by them. Is that all that much to ask for?

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