City Levies $50 Yearly License Fee On E-Bikes

The JT-TC Journal Gazette & Times-Courier reports that the Mattoon, Illinois, City Council voted to require an annual registration/license fee of $50 for “motorized bicycles in the city limit.” The article says the ordinance defines motorized bicycles as electric and gas powered bicycles that are in use at less than 20 miles per hour. Confused? Me too.

City officials claim to be responding to concerns about motorized bicycles running stop signs and creating dangerous situations in traffic. The paper reports that a motorized bicycle rider was recently charge with gun and drug possession after blowing through a stop sign and trying to evade police. Sounds like you got some crazy e-bike riders up there in Mattoon!

In addition to the excessive yearly license fee, the ordinance tacks on late fees and fines up to $750 for violations of this ordinance. I need so much more information about this town, the riders and the ordinance to offer an opinion. Based solely on the newspaper report, it appears city officials drafted an ordinance that is tough to enforce, hurts low-income riders (who depend on their e-bike for transportation), reduces tourism (if Mattoon has any) and does nothing to address the problem (reckless driving) reported to the council.

I just don’t get it and hope the ordinance is a complete failure. I would be disappointed if other communities adopt similar policies. 

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