Senate votes to allow pedal pubs in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation to regulate commercial quadricycles in the state of Michigan.

Pedal pubs, as they are also known, are used for various activities, including bachelor or bachelorette parties, sightseeing tours, company team-building exercises, and other social gatherings.

Some pedal pubs already operate in Michigan. However, under current law, passengers are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages because of the state’s open intoxication laws.

Senate Bill 165 would not allow alcohol to be sold or purchased on board a pedal pub, but would allow passengers to possess and consume alcohol on board. Importantly, there would be a zero tolerance policy for the driver (often called the pilot), meaning that person absolutely would not be allowed to possess or consume alcohol or operate the vehicle while intoxicated.

The bill also would require owners of pedal pubs to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability insurance.

“Pedal pubs are emerging as a fun and safe way to enjoy Pure Michigan,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, who sponsored the legislation. “Residents and visitors from cities throughout Michigan, including Traverse City, are already enjoying quadricycles. Allowing passengers to bring their own beer, wine and alcohol adds to the experience and further contributes to our economy and tourism industry.”

Under the bill, local governments would have authority to pass ordinances to prohibit pedal pubs from operating on certain roads, and they would not be allowed on roads maintained by the Department of Transportation — i.e., any “I,” “U.S.” or “M” labeled roads.

Senate Bill 166, a companion measure sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, would define a commercial quadricycle and require that the vehicle meet the following criteria:
• Has fully operative pedals for propulsion entirely by human power;
• Has at least four wheels and is operated in a manner similar to a bicycle;
• Has at least six seats for passengers;
• Is designed to be occupied by a driver and powered either by passengers providing pedal power to the drive train of the vehicle or by a motor capable of propelling the vehicle in the absence of human power;
• Is used for commercial purposes;
• Is operated by the owner of the vehicle or an employee of the owner of the vehicle; and
• Must be operated by a licensed Michigan driver if the vehicle is equipped with a motor.

SBs 165 and 166 now advance to the House for consideration.


Schmidt: Fiscally responsible budget prioritizes education, public health and safety, veterans

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement Tuesday after the Senate approved its Fiscal Year 2016 budget:

“Today the Senate approved a budget that deals with Michigan’s deficit and pays down nearly $1 billion in unfunded liabilities without placing further burden on taxpayers through smart reductions while protecting the programs and services residents rely upon.

“Obtaining a quality education is the key to a person’s future, and we have again made it a top budget priority. We will continue to support early childhood education programs, further invest in K-12 schools while making sure those dollars go to classrooms where they belong, and work to drive down the costs of higher education so more Michigan students have the opportunity to earn a college degree.

“The fundamental responsibility of government is to protect the health, welfare and safety of citizens, and the Senate’s budget holds true to that as well. Our budget preserves small and rural hospitals and obstetrical programs at rural hospitals, provides for the hiring of 75 additional Michigan State Police troopers to help keep our communities safe, and expands support for veterans service organizations that serve the men and women who serve us in our military once they return home.

“Michigan has come a long way in the past four years and the Senate’s budget keeps that positive momentum going.”