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Boise limits bike bars, including a ban on alcohol while riding

Boise Bike Bars will face new rules.

On Tuesday, Boise City Council voted to finalize new regulations for the popular pedal powered vehicles that frequent the streets of downtown. The bike bars, which ferry riders to bars in and around downtown, prompted complaints to the City of Boise for drunk and disorderly behavior, loud music and disrupting traffic.

[Large new concert house and nightclub planned for Eagle Rd.]

The changes include banning alcohol consumption on the vehicles by customers, limit the volume of speakers on the bike bars and prevent them from operating anywhere outside of the downtown core. They city will prohibit them from operating past 10:30 p.m. and during rush hour on weekdays.

The new changes also allow the city to immediately suspend the license of vehicles not conforming with minimal inspection requirements and standards.

A compromise

Before the unanimous approval, City Council Member Holli Woodings said the changes reflected a happy medium of changes after discussions with the bike bar companies.

“We heard from bike bar owners, many citizens, and this seemed like the most prudent course of action given everything we heard and learned in that process,” Woodings said. “It felt to city council like this was the way we needed to go.”

These changes come after several months of discussions. Council first posed potential changes in mid-August, which included two council members floating an outright ban. In October, some bike bar owners and legal counsel came before the city council and pleaded their case for more moderate solutions.

Their proposals included limiting the amount of alcohol allowed on the bikes, instead of banning it altogether. They also proposed the limited hours of operation and banning their operation in heavily residential areas, like Hyde Park.

When asked for the number of complaints from the city about the bike bars, city spokesman Seth Ogilvie said there was not a formal total because they had been collected in different ways. Some of the complaints came to Mayor McLean’s office, some to city council members and others to the clerk’s office. He could not give a total, but he said it was “significant.”

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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