2017-05-20 / Top News

Bicycle Registrations Underway

By Cathryn Lien


This bicycle parking lot is a typical scene on Mackinac Island during the spring, summer, and fall, when bikes are the chief transportation mode for year-around residents, employees who commute from the mainland, and many visitors. Bicycle licenses, which are required, are on sale now at the courthouse and must be renewed by June 1. The Island’s annual auction of bicycles impounded by police will be held Sunday, May 21, at 10 a.m. This bicycle parking lot is a typical scene on Mackinac Island during the spring, summer, and fall, when bikes are the chief transportation mode for year-around residents, employees who commute from the mainland, and many visitors. Bicycle licenses, which are required, are on sale now at the courthouse and must be renewed by June 1. The Island’s annual auction of bicycles impounded by police will be held Sunday, May 21, at 10 a.m. The annual ritual of bicycle registration and licensing is underway now on Mackinac Island, where the two-wheelers are the primary means of transportation three seasons of the year.

For the small community, it’s as big a production as motor vehicle registration on the mainland: In 2016, 4,192 resident bicycle licenses and 79,285 transient licenses were issued. Police Chief Brett Riccinto says the numbers likely will up this year.

The temporary transient licenses are sold to visitors by the ferry boat companies, with the city collecting 50¢ for each. Resident licenses are sold for $3.50 at the police department on Market Street.

Registering bicycles helps police locate lost and stolen bicycles. At the end of last season, returning Islanders could have sent self-addressed envelopes with their previous license numbers so they could quickly receive new ones, Chief Riccinto said. Returners who did not do this still can receive new licenses by filling out a registration form at the police department with their previous license number.

Those who are new to the Island must register their bicycles before the end of this month. Chief Riccinto said police will not start impounding unlicensed bicycles until June 1.

The bicycle registration form includes contact information, the bicycle’s make and model, and a motor vehicle driver’s license number. License buyers should have the information in hand. Registration forms can be found in the front office of the Courthouse. The license itself is a small, blue sticker, which is placed on the crossbar of the bike.

The police department office is open to issue licenses seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To accommodate those who cannot register during these times, forms have been placed outside the front office. A form can be filled out and left in the secure drop box provided there. The license can be picked up at the office the following day, when the registration fee also will be collected.

Visitors who have their own bicycles should purchase a transient license when they board a ferry.

Bicycles are rarely stolen on Mackinac Island, but “borrowing” is a common issue, according to Chief Riccinto. He advises people to lock their bike to avoid finding it miles from where it was parked.

Most bicycle accidents involve tourists. Chief Riccinto warns visitors to be mindful of horses and congested bicycle traffic.

“Understand that bikes are the main mode of transportation, so be as cautious of bikes as you would motor vehicles on the mainland.” he said.

Impounded and unclaimed bicycles are annually auctioned to the public by the Mackinac Island Police Department. This year’s auction will be held between the Stuart House and the post office at 10 a.m. this Sunday, May 21. The bicycles vary by model, condition, and quality. They sell in the range of $30 to $60. Bidders should bring cash or check and can register their purchased bicycles at the auction.

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