You are here

Montana legislative committee removes nonresident bike fee proposal

Published April 10, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (BRAIN) — A Montana House committee has removed an amendment that would have charged out-of-state bicycle riders a $25 fee — a proposal that might have been an April Fools joke.

The Montana House Natural Resources Committee amended a bill on Friday to remove the provision, which was inserted by Senate president Scott Sales on March 31. It would have imposed a fee for "nonresident invasive species bicycle decal."

Although Sales later said the proposal was at least partly a joke, it drew a response from state and national bike advocates, including PeopleForBikes, who rallied advocates to send 577 letters to the legislature to protest the provision.

In a statement Monday, PeopleForBikes noted that Sales' proposal was only one of several anti-bike measures proposed in the Montana Legislature this year. Other bills would have prohibited bikes from riding on roads that don't have shoulders and required all bikes on roads to be equipped with a fluorescent orange flag. Both those bills died quickly.

Sales' $25 non-resident cyclist amendment was inserted into a bill related to invasive aquatic species.

Advocates said the provision would have jeopardized Montana's bicycle tourism economy and they showed up in force at a hearing on April 5 to object to the fee.

"This outcome could not have been achieved without thoughtful and well-articulated comments from bike riders to their elected officials," PeopleForBikes said.

Sales told Montana Public Radio the proposed fee was "in jest to some degree" and said he didn't lobby for it. Nor did he withdraw it.


Join the Conversation