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Bills Would Allow "Pedal Pubs"

State Capitol - file photo
Melissa Benmark

Michigan would allow people to drink alcohol on so-called “pedal pubs” under bills making their way through the Legislature. 

A state House panel on Tuesday approved regulating the four-wheel pedal-powered vehicles, which allow people to drink alcohol while cycling between destinations.

“I have been on these pedal cars up in Marquette. And it’s a wonderful thing to go from pub to pub, seeing the lakeshore when you’re driving around,”

said state Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He says pedal pubs offer a way to promote tourism in Michigan.

“This is no means of a person to look for a free ride to abuse alcohol,” he said. “This is simply promoting a local district. The local districts have an opportunity now to show off what they are. This is another summer industry. So it’s a good thing.”

Some communities already allow pedal pubs. But Pettalia says they risk legal action because state law is not clear on how they should be regulated. Under Senate Bills 165 and 166, the operator who steers and brakes the vehicle would have to stay sober.

Some committee members asked whether the state should set some additional safety standards for the vehicles. But Pettalia told reporters he doesn’t think that’s necessary.

“I don’t believe they hit five or seven miles an hour. So I think it’s pretty safe,”

he said, referring to speeds the vehicles can hit when powered by electric auxiliary motors. The legislation cleared the state Senate unanimously last month. It now goes to the state House floor with ostensibly no significant opposition.