Opinion Columns & Blogs

Change excessive penalty for unlit bicycles

The Wichita City Council should approve a commonsense change in the penalty for riders of unlit bicycles. Currently, such tickets are treated as a moving violation that automatically triggers a $20 fine plus $67 in court costs and fees. A proposal approved by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board would treat the matter as an equipment violation and allow the rider to avoid a fine by installing a light on the bike and then getting a police officer to sign off on the fix. The city has free bicycle lights available thanks to a state grant. Though an angry bicyclist went too far recently in calling council members “idiots,” the complaint raised awareness of the excessive penalty and is leading to a reasonable change. – Phillip Brownlee