Lehighton might abolish bicycle license ordinance
A 7-year-old child could be riding his or her bike anywhere in Lehighton borough, be confronted by police, and then even fined, just for not having a bicycle license.
Although this is unlikely to happen, the borough has an ordinance that states all residents who have bicycles must have them inspected and licensed or face fines of $25.
The inspection must be done by the police department, the ordinance states. The police are required to keep records of the licenses.
Monday night, Lehighton Borough Council discussed eliminating this ordinance.
"It's antiquated," said borough manager Nicole Beckett.
The council tabled action on rescinding the ordinance until next month. That's because one of the provisions in it prohibits bicycles in the downtown area of the borough. The council seemed divided on whether this section should be retained.
"Do we want bicycles all over the sidewalks all over town?" asked Councilman John Bird. "Let's look into that first."
Another council member, Darryl Arner, expressed concern about pedestrian safety if bikes are permitted on downtown sidewalks.
Nobody disputed that the provision requiring bikes to be licensed and inspected should be ended.
"Who's going to enforce it if they don't have a license?" asked Councilman John Kreitz.
Arner added, "I feel it is ridiculous to require a 7-year-old to have a license for a bike."
Council Vice President Scott Rehrig said the ordinance mandates that borough residents have their bicycles licensed, but individuals not living in town don't need the license.
The present ordinance states, "Application for a pedalcycle license and license plate shall be made to the police department on a form provided by the borough. A license fee of $1 shall be paid to the borough before any license is issued or renewed."
The applications for licenses or for renewal of licenses shall be made on or after Jan. 1 of each odd-numbered year and the license shall be valid until Dec. 31 of the following even-numbered year, states the ordinance.
It adds, "The police department shall cause the license plate to be firmly attached to the rear mudguard or the frame of the pedalcycle for which it was issued in a position to be plainly visible."
If a bike is sold or given away, the license is supposed to be returned to the police department.
Violations carry fines of $25 plus court costs.
The portion of the ordinance which some council members aren't ready to concede states:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or to park a pedalcycle on the sidewalk" along First Street between Coal Street and Iron Street and on North and South Street between First and Second streets.
Beckett suggested that this latter segment also should be ended since there are more activities to attract people to the downtown.
It was added that when the ordinance was originally adopted, there also were more businesses in the downtown.