Monday, January 17, 2011

Mandatory registration sweeping the nation!

The year 2011 is barely two weeks old, and is already proving to be quite challenging for cyclists and for personal liberties.

  1. January 4, 2011: the LA Times runs a story about $400 in fines levied against one teenage boy for operating a bicycle without a license.
  2. January 12, 2011: New Jersey Assembleywoman Tucker proposes legislation requiring a $10/year registration for all bicycles and a $100 citation for each offense.
  3. January 13, 2011: Tucker back-pedals and withdraws her proposal.
  4. January 14, 2011: the New York Post runs a story about a legislator from Queens proposing similar registration laws.

And today, the city attorney of Santa Monica is proposing to the city council an ordinance that will require bicycle registration for all residents of Santa Monica at a cost of $4.00 per bike, and which sets the fine for operating a bicycle without a license at $10.00.

In response, local (to Santa Monica) inter-blogger and pedal-masher Gary has written a letter raising several logistical concerns about redundancies and enforcement that bureaucrats and politicrats will likely find more ponder-worthy than my ideological "bikes are like libraries" flight of fancy.

Some of my favorite bike personalities—bloggers, photographers, advocates—are in and around LA, so I'm anxious to see the coverage of the meeting and reactions to the outcome.

And as for things on the home front, I'm a little nervous about the spread of this apparent anti-bike brush fire. I would feel confident that bike-friendly Denver, home of the country's first bike share program, would be immune from the craziness if it weren't for two things.
  1. Dan "It's A Plot" Maes is headquartered a stone's throw away in Evergreen and his influence, if felt from New York to LA, is surely felt here in his back yard, and
  2. Even Portland, where cyclists hope they go when they die, is suffering from restrictive bicycle legislation! This proposed law would prohibit, with the threat of a $90 fine, children under the age of 6 being carried on bicycles.

Basically, I can't take it for granted any longer that this couldn't happen here. I denounce this kind of legislation, and I need to make sure my legislators know this.

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