Also, there was one glaring inaccuracy in the story. The news presenter noted that fixed gear bikes without handlebar mounted brakes are illegal in Chicago. That's not true. The relevant Chicago ordinance states:
(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. 9-52-080.
The relevant Illinois statute states:
(c) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will adequately control movement of and stop and hold such bicycle. 625 ILCS 5/11-1507.Neither law defines the term "brake".
Neither states that the required brake must consist of a lever, cable and caliper. As fixed gear riders know, the bicycle's drive train consisting of the fixed rear cog, chain, cranks, pedals and the rider's legs act as a braking system, one that works better than the uninitiated may think. It is common to abruptly stop pedaling locking up the rear wheel causing the bike to skid to a complete stop. In fact, one U.S. jurisdiction, Washington D.C., has changed its cycling ordinance to explicitly permit the fixed gear braking system.