The Chainlink

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/8435830-418/alderman-asks-whe...

 

And Gabe Klein handling it perfectly.

 

And Ron Burke coming off as calling for a crackdown on cyclists (probably taken out of context, but note that Gabe didn't give them anything to take out of context.)

 

(***TCA= "this crap again")

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I would have simply pointed out that cars and their drivers need to be licensed because of their great potential to injure and kill people, and that bikes just don't pose that same danger.

Or it could be argued that bikes should contribute something towards the infrastructure that they use...

 

It's not an illogical point.

We all do in taxes. In my opinion cars are asked more so through licensing and gas taxation because they induce much higher costs to the infrastructure.

notoriousDUG said:

Or it could be argued that bikes should contribute something towards the infrastructure that they use...

 

It's not an illogical point.

notoriousDUG said:

Or it could be argued that bikes should contribute something towards the infrastructure that they use...

 

It's not an illogical point.

 

It would seem logical, but for the fact that cyclists already pay taxes which subsidize the infrastructure they use, namely streets.  Placing restrictions and use fees on cyclists is an excellent way to discourage cycling and put more cars on those streets, increasing the costs of maintenance.
Whether you agree or not with licensing, I've been saying for a loooong time that it will eventually come. I can't imagine the cash-strapped mayor ignoring a potentially significant revenue source for much longer. So I think "the community" should get on board as quickly as possible to (hopefully) influence the outcome. If not, the city and all its transportation lackeys will hand down something from on high and we'll all be left with the bill.

WTF??? I just read the article, how does Mr. Burke, ATA ED, come off with this little gem?

Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, said bike licensing has been tried in other countries, but nowhere in the U.S. that he’s aware of — and for good reason. It’s been extremely complicated to implement ...

 

All you have to do is search on eBay for "bike License plates" and you'll see tons of American examples...
A bike licensing ordinance would never pass.  The Police would never support it, as there are several ordinances that they don't/can't enforce right now anyway. Additionally, the amount of money you'd have to charge to make it worthwhile wouldn't be proportional to the cost of enforcement. Mell even says it can't be done.  I think he just wants people to be accountable, and has a special way of saying it.
Yes, we pay plenty of taxes to subsidize the infrastructure we use.  I agree with Charlie's point that the numbers really don't work, so it would be unlikely to pass.

Dan Korn said:
It would seem logical, but for the fact that cyclists already pay taxes which subsidize the infrastructure they use, namely streets.  Placing restrictions and use fees on cyclists is an excellent way to discourage cycling and put more cars on those streets, increasing the costs of maintenance.

For the record, Active Trans is not calling for a crackdown on bicyclists. Ron was simply pointing out that there are laws on the books that could be enforced and that licensing isn't a good solution. Education and enforcement are key.

 

I believe Ron talked to Fran for about 10-minutes, and yes, the quote may imply to some that we support a crackdown but that is not true.

 

Also, in response to Garth, we aren't aware of any current bike licensing going on in major U.S. cities.

 

There may be smaller communities that do this currently and yes, Ebay does show many examples (most of which in my search looked to be from the 50's/60's) of U.S. cities that had bike licensing.

 

We will definitely follow-up with some of our peers around the country but our current stance is that licensing bikes doesn't help.

 

Here's our official statement language on bike licenses and taxing bicyclists:

 

We all want people who ride bikes to be equipped with the knowledge they need to share the road safely and responsibly. Active Trans believes that advocating for more bike, walk and transit education for all age groups is the best approach to increasing safe road behavior (e.g. let’s include these topics in driver education). Requiring a license or fees to ride a bike would serve as an obstacle to bicycling, and may actually create a less safe environment if fewer people are riding bikes on roads (safety in numbers!).

 

Other municipalities have explored this and what people have discovered is that it’s very hard to enforce. But, some European countries incorporate this type of education and testing into their curricula from a young age and then have young adults pass a test that gets them a certificate of bicycling expertise. Keep in mind that licenses aren’t required for police to enforce existing traffic laws on biking behavior. Regarding the money angle, the majority of bike facilities is built on local or county roads, and is paid for through local and county taxes - which people who ride bikes already pay. 

 

Thanks,

Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

Bike licensing is simply not practical. How would you enforce it. There is not a state/nation wide license. So when I bring my bike up from the suburbs into the city, how will they know I'm just out of their juristiction.

 

Municipalities don't do it because the costs to implement the program are higher than the revenue.

Hmm, reduced congestion, less pollution, reduced wear and tear on infrastructure, lower public health and insurance costs...seems as if cyclists should be subsidized, not taxed. 

 

On the other hand, I'd buy a license if the revenue went into a bike infrastructure trust fund. Like to get some of these fading lanes repainted.

 

Of course proposals such as this are fairly transparent attempts by people who don't like cyclists to create barriers to increased cycling. Nothing more or less.

 

All bikes in Chicago are, by law, ALREADY registered/licensed with the authorities:

"9-120-020- Registration - Permalink

It is hereby made the duty of the owner of every bicycle, before operating or permitting the operation of the same upon any public way within the city, to register said vehicle with the commissioner of police on a form provided for such purpose. Registration may be accomplished by filing the registration record or form, duly filled out, in the office of the commander of the police district in which the bicycle owner resides, or by mailing said form, duly filled out, postage prepaid, to the commissioner of police.

Prior Registration code § 29.1-2; Amend Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634"

We have a similar statute in my town of Evanston, and I'd bet many other towns in the area have the same laws.  I even paid a fifty cent per bike license fee to Evanston, which seems like a reasonable cost.

Since most bikes in the area are ALREADY LICENSED by the local authorities, Alderman Mell, you can STFU.

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