Bike Registration: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Let’s try something new here. Close your eyes for a minuet. Now imagine a world where bicycles are no longer free to ride around. Where they must be registered and tagged like cars. On top of that you must pay a registration fee for all of your bicycles. Now open your eyes. Scary no? You might think that that was just in your imagination, but there is a bill proposed by a New York City Councilmen that does just that. Listen to this e-mail I received from Transportation Alternatives yesterday:

As reported by the NY Post, Councilmember Eric Ulrich wants to introduce a draconian anti-bicycling bill that would require all New Yorkers to register their bicycles. Councilmember Ulrich has made bicyclists a scapegoat. His proposal will stop people from riding bicycles and make bicycling less safe. We need your help to stop his plans.

Councilmember Ulrich’s anti-bicycling proposal is an enormous waste of City resources and an attack against every New Yorker who owns a bike now or might ride in the future. Stand up to Councilmember Ulrich’s anti-bike proposal now!

For the full e-mail click on continue reading.

STAND UP AGAINST THE ANTI-BICYCLING PROPOSAL!

As reported by the NY Post, Councilmember Eric Ulrich wants to introduce a draconian anti-bicycling bill that would require all New Yorkers to register their bicycles. Councilmember Ulrich has made bicyclists a scapegoat. His proposal will stop people from riding bicycles and make bicycling less safe. We need your help to stop his plans.

Take Action

Send Councilmember Ulrich an e-fax and stand up against mandatory bicycle registration and Councilmember Ulrich’s attack on bicycle riders.

Councilmember Ulrich’s registration plan would require every adult to pay for an ID tag and affix it to their bike. This misguided proposal is a waste of City’s resources and does nothing to improve safety, cycling or the city. T.A. needs your help to defeat this attack on bicycling. Stand up for your right to bicycle!Send an e-fax to Councilmember Ulrich now! Practically speaking, bicycle registration would criminalize bicycling, waste valuable city resources and erect yet another obstacle for those seeking to ride a bike. It would do nothing to improve safety or enforcement, and would even make bicycling less safe by eroding the “safety in numbers” effect. As documented in annual Department of Transportation bicycle and crash counts, bicycle crash rates go down as bicycle riding rates increase. There are sufficient traffic laws on the books, covering drivers, cyclists and commercial cyclists. What’s missing from the equation isn’t an ID tag, it’s the NYPD’s participation in enforcement.Councilmember Ulrich is misguided about the safety of his constituents. He also says many of his constituents are senior citizens and that “people on bicycles scare the hell out of them. Sometimes they can be an intimidating presence on the city streets.” But for all New Yorkers, and most especially senior citizens, being struck by a motor vehicle is by far the most serious threat on the streets. According to the DMV, in 2009 there were 75,539 automobile crashes in New York City, less than four percent of those crashes involved a bicycle. Seniors make up only 12 percent of the NYC population but they account for a whopping 39 percent of the total number of pedestrians killed by cars. Why is Councilmember Ulrich attacking bicycling instead of worrying about the greatest threat to the safety of his constituents?Councilmember Ulrich’s anti-bicycling proposal is an enormous waste of City resources and an attack against every New Yorker who owns a bike now or might ride in the future. Stand up to Councilmember Ulrich’s anti-bike proposal now!

Written by Chris Belsole

 

2 Comments

Filed under Activism, Article, Support the Cause

2 responses to “Bike Registration: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

  1. ethan

    I don’t really understand why people are so irrationally opposed to bicycle registration. We keep saying “we’re traffic, too” but we don’t have any of the responsibilities drivers do. If I had to register my bicycle, drivers would not be able to say I have no right to be in the streets.

    I don’t see how Ulrich’s proposal makes bicycling less safe at all. Having to register your bikes means you have rights. It means your stolen bike has a paper trail, which might make recovery easier. It also means laws could be better enforced, so those kids riding around in the dark in all black going against traffic could be ticketed- this actually encourages safety. Part of registration could be education, and I don’t see how that’s anti-bike at all.

    If we want the same rights/access/respect as motorists, it’s only fair that we own up to similar bureaucracy.

  2. Sharene

    I know my reply is very late, but I disagree with a lot of ethan’s comment.

    “If we want the same rights/access/respect as motorists, it’s only fair that we own up to similar bureaucracy.”

    According to the driver’s manual, bikers do have rights. If drivers are asserting that cyclists don’t have rights, that’s their issue for not educating themselves on the matter. If the rights that we have are not being recognized, that’s because they are not being enforced, not because they don’t exist. Cyclists are just as entitled to the road as motor vehicles are and it says so in the very manual drivers are required to read.
    I think one could argue that Ulrich’s proposal makes cyclists less safe simply because fewer people will ride if they have to pay a fee to do it and statistics have shown that when there are fewer bikes on the road, more accidents happen because drivers are less used to sharing the roads with them.
    I understand your point and Ulrich’s point in that something needs to be done to hold people accountable for the erratic things they do on bicycles, but I do not think license plates are the answer. Many people don’t realize that riding against traffic is dangerous or illegal but there are other ways to stop that from happening that don’t include tagging bicycles. If the laws were more thoroughly enforced, these problems would diminish without people having to start paying fees and honestly, that’s what worries me the most.
    License plates would only be the beginning. Why stop there? Why not charge for parking on a bike rack or put tolls on bridges? Why not create insurance companies for bikes so if you get into an accident you don’t have to pay out of pocket? Why not create an exam to get a license that you must also pay a fee to maintain every few years? One of the many reasons why I love to ride is because it’s a free activity. I honestly don’t want to see that ruined when simply doing more to enforce the rules that are already there could do the job well enough. I think we should at least try that first.
    Also, you can register you bike with the NYPD and get that registration engraved onto your bike so in the event that it is lost, it can be returned to you. Maybe I’m just being cheap, maybe I’m tired of being charged more and more money every month and not seeing any benefits, but this is a problem that I think has other solutions that we just haven’t tried.

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