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Should You Be Allowed to Drink While Pedaling? Kentucky Lawmakers Debate It.

State lawmakers were asked on Friday to amend a law to allow passengers to consume alcohol on human-powered four-wheeled bicycles, although the driver steering and braking couldn’t drink.

Often called “party bikes,” these 15-seat quadricycles have become popular in metropolitan areas across the United States, Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, said while testifying before the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

“You may think it is just a novelty business, but it is truly about economic development,” he said. “They add a new dimension to cities. They add new options for tourists and residents alike.”

Legislation (House Bill 86) passed the House during the regulation session earlier this year but did not to make it out of committee in the Senate.

Montell said he wanted the committee to hear testimony about the proposed change before a similar bill was prefilled for the upcoming session. The legislation would do three things:  Create a legal definition for quadricycles, direct that local governments to regulate quadricycles and exempt passengers on quadricycles from existing statutes that prohibit individuals from drinking in public places.

“In other words, if you passed the bill, passengers could imbibe while on the bike,” he said. “They could not step onto the sidewalk with a drink.”

Scott Benningfield testified that he owns a quadricycle business in Louisville that he is expanding to Lexington. He predicted that his business would double if quadricycle passengers could bring their own alcohol.

He said there are 59 licensed quadricycles in the eight states that allow passengers to consume alcohol compared to 31 quadricycles in the 18 states that do not allow passengers to drink.

There are 24 states with no known quadricycle businesses

Benningfield emphasized that the drivers for these quadricycle businesses do not drink while working and maintain complete control of steering and braking. The passengers provide the propulsion.

“It is 100 percent pedal-powered,” he said. “There is no motor. We do have a battery on the bike but it is only for the headlights, brake lights, turn signals and overhead lights.”

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who is co-chair of the committee, encouraged Benningfield to keep an open dialog with state regulators and legislators as he attempts to change the law.

“There are people that have concerns about this,” Schickel said.

From the Legislative Research Commission

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