Gov. Snyder signs bill to drink wine, beer while biking

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Patrons on pedal-powered trolleys will be able to consume beer and wine while biking from bar to bar in cities like Traverse City under legislation Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Wednesday.

Snyder signed a two-bill package sought by northern Michigan lawmakers to allow minivan-sized pedal trolleys to let their customers drink beer or wine while on board.

Owners of the so-called "pedal pubs" in Traverse City and Marquette advocated for loosening the state's alcohol restrictions and making their drivers licensed like a limousine.

But the owner Grand Rapids pedaling trolley opposed the legislation, telling The Detroit News that she fears it could lead to drunken patrons falling off the 15-seat, four-wheel bicycles.

Pedaling trolleys in those three cities and Bay City attract bachelor and bachelorette parties, large families celebrating a birthday or anniversary and companies looking for a team-building exercise, operators say.

Under Public Acts 126 and 127, trolley drivers would have to remain sober and carry personal property and injury liability insurance with a $2 million limit, according to an analysis by the non-partisan House Fiscal Agency.

The new law allows local municipalities to prohibit on-board alcohol consumption, according to Snyder's office.

Republican Sens. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City and Tom Casperson of Escanaba sponsored the bills.

Schmidt has said allowing on-board beer consumption would allow patrons in Traverse City to purchase a growler at a brewery and drink it while riding around the popular summertime tourist destination.

"You wouldn't be selling alcohol on-board — all of the liquor laws apply," Schmidt told The News. "... Protections are still in place. And with oversight by local government, we think this will be just another fun way to ... enjoy Pure Michigan hospitality."

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