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Old 06-30-05, 07:27 AM   #1
DogBoy
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Bicycle License

In the traffic violation thread CrimsonEclipse said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
... I'm sure some politician will intro a bicycle license.
Is this a bad idea? I kind of like having a bicycle endorsement to your drivers license. Just make it a written test about the laws as they pertain to bikes. Make it cost like $7 or so initially or whatever it costs to make the test. For kids <16, allow a special bike license/ state ID card that lets them ride without a licensed parent. Have the test be the same.

I know that there are all sorts of problems with the specifics I gave above, but what do you think about the fundamental idea of having a license to ride your bike?
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Old 06-30-05, 07:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
Is this a bad idea? I kind of like having a bicycle endorsement to your drivers license. Just make it a written test about the laws as they pertain to bikes. Make it cost like $7 or so initially or whatever it costs to make the test. For kids <16, allow a special bike license/ state ID card that lets them ride without a licensed parent. Have the test be the same.

I know that there are all sorts of problems with the specifics I gave above, but what do you think about the fundamental idea of having a license to ride your bike?
Yes, it is a VERY bad idea. You know already that there are all sorts of significant problems with this proposal that only seems to come from bicyclists' with an agenda. What is your's? What is the credible benefit for bicyclists, or anybody else for that matter??
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Old 06-30-05, 07:56 AM   #3
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Just wait till they suspend your bicycle lisense for coming home drunk from a bar with it, then what are we gonna do?
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Old 06-30-05, 07:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Yes, it is a VERY bad idea. You know already that there are all sorts of significant problems with this proposal that only seems to come from bicyclists' with an agenda. What is your's? What is the credible benefit for bicyclists, or anybody else for that matter??
My agenda is education. 99% of the people would get the endorsement because they want to ride around the neighborhood. The credible benefit would be that drivers understood (or at least knew at some point) what the rights of cycles are, and cyclists would be aware of their rights/responsibilities.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:10 AM   #5
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The same laws relate to both bikes and cars. and most cyclists are also drivers, so a bike licence would be redundant.

Hoerver, I think that requiring people to have a year or more of on-road cycling experience before applying foir an automobile driver's licence might be a good idea. Maybe this could be incorporated into the learner's permit process. In addition to getting driving instruction, prospective motorists would have to log x miles of on-road cycling. Handicapped people could be exempted.

This would give new motorists a better feel for operating in traffic and make it clear to all that cyclists and motorists are two equal classes of road user. Making cycling proficiency a prerequisite to getting a motor vehicle permit would motivate many teenagers to ride.

Paul

(who thinks, "Every motorist a cyclist." -- what a slogan!)
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Old 06-30-05, 08:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
My agenda is education. 99% of the people would get the endorsement because they want to ride around the neighborhood. The credible benefit would be that drivers understood (or at least knew at some point) what the rights of cycles are, and cyclists would be aware of their rights/responsibilities.
I suspect that 99.9% of the people who want to ride around the neighborhood would ignore any such licensing requirement; as would 100% of law enforcement officers unless they were running a profiling sting on cyclists who "don't belong" in this neighborhood.

Perhaps you are one in a hundred exception, but almost every time "education" and "bicycle licensing" are associated, it comes from the keyboard of someone who just happens to be promoting a propriatary cycling education program and is trying to stimulate demand for his product.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:23 AM   #7
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I tend to agree, although I'm not sure I would whole-heartedly endorse the idea.
First, the benefit of education is a good one. While there is much whining here when a cyclist gets hurt or killed by a motorist, I think that rational people understand that about half of those accidents are the fault of the cyclist. Doesn't make it any less tragic, but it's the truth. I see "wrong way" and other problems with people on bikes daily.

The question is, where would the enforcement come from? We complain that drivers get away with running stop signs all the time. Some of us complain that cops breath our oxygen, but I almost invariably dismiss the view of anyone holding that opinion. The truth is that there are so many violations and only a limited amount of law enforcement. Many of us would like to have errant bicyclists corrected because they make it more dangerous for all of us, but who's going to do it? Would our license fees, which would have to be nominal, pay for a new brand of bike cop? I highly doubt it. You'd have to have some sort of registration sticker or plate which you couldn't get unless you had your license. That sticker or plate would have to be small, so how useful would it be? I mean, how many people would bother? Does it have to go on a race bike too? Of course, if you want to train with it on the road. So now your carbon fiber race bike has to have reflectors? Will there be an annual safety inspection required?

Obviously, the can of worms this opens is huge and squirmy. From a cost/benefit standpoint, I don't think it's feasible. More educated riders is what we need, but I don't think a license is the way to go about it.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natelutkjohn
Just wait till they suspend your bicycle lisense for coming home drunk from a bar with it, then what are we gonna do?
Compeletely apart from any other considerations, you should not be coming home drunk from a bar on your bike. The only advantage of it has over driving a car drunk is you are not as likely to kill someone else doing so (unless they crash trying to avoid you).

Okay, I know, I'm moralizing...
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Old 06-30-05, 08:29 AM   #9
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And after that license is established ... start working on the sidewalk users license? And then work on the license to be out in public? Then work on the license to allow you to go buy groceries, and then ... the license to express yourself ... and then the license to continue to live ...

Fundamentally, I think it's a bad idea no matter how good the specifics are worked out. If having a driver's license resulted in a safe world, then why are there so many motor vehicle accidents by licensed drivers. Licensing drivers does not automatically result in a drastic increase in public safety. Nor would a Bike endorsement. The only drastic thing it accomplishes is revenue to the State.

If anything should happen, it should be that more bicycle rules be added to the regular driver's license test but I don't see that happening because most people would miss the questions and then wouldn't get their license and then wouldn't have to pay for the license (ie less state revenue). The State WANTS you to pass because that brings them revenue.

Bad .. Bad idea!

d.tipton
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Old 06-30-05, 08:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
The credible benefit would be that drivers understood (or at least knew at some point) what the rights of cycles are, and cyclists would be aware of their rights/responsibilities.
Do you think there is ONE motorist in the US who is not aware of the requirements and their responsibility for obeying speed limits, driving sober, stopping at stop signs, etc?
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Old 06-30-05, 08:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Do you think there is ONE motorist in the US who is not aware of the requirements and their responsibility for obeying speed limits, driving sober, stopping at stop signs, etc?
no but I think there are MANY cyclists who are not aware of their responsiblities to ride on the correct side of the road, yes you still have to stop at a stoplight, you cannot use turn lanes for other than their intended purpose etc. And for those that use the sidewalk: you must stop at street corners and check for traffic just like if you were walking, peds have the right of way on the sidewalk, speeds should be slow, if crossing streets in a crosswalk WALK your bike etc.

I also think there are MANY drivers who do not realize that a bicycle has the right to the lane in certain circumstances, and that the minimum safe passing clearence is 3', and if you can't pass without going into the other lane you must wait rather than just forcing the cyclist off the road.

I'm not trying to push the idea of a license, I just want to know pros/cons. It sounds like most people think there are more cons. I'm still kind of neutral. No, I don't have a training program I'm trying to sell either.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tippy
...If anything should happen, it should be that more bicycle rules be added to the regular driver's license test ...
I like this idea.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:52 AM   #13
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Oh my goodness !
No more government intrusion into our lives, please !!!

Useless, overbearing authoritarian interference and meddling = $7.00
Anarachistic freedom of bicycling as it is now = Priceless.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogBoy
Is this a bad idea? I kind of like having a bicycle endorsement to your drivers license. Just make it a written test about the laws as they pertain to bikes. Make it cost like $7 or so initially or whatever it costs to make the test. For kids <16, allow a special bike license/ state ID card that lets them ride without a licensed parent. Have the test be the same.

I know that there are all sorts of problems with the specifics I gave above, but what do you think about the fundamental idea of having a license to ride your bike?
Until recently I supported that idea. It sounds silly to some, but I was thinking of this situation: do you want someone completely unfamiliar with traffic laws operating a vehicle on a major highway? I liked the idea of needing a license to use a bike on major roads but not on minor/residential roads. Of course this would rely on a simple and unambiguous definition of "major" and "minor" roads.

After discussing the idea some more, I'm no longer sure that's worth the effort. Rather I would like to see police and by-law enforcement actually enforce the traffic laws. I had a cyclist in my way yesterday who was riding against traffic in the middle of downtown. Why did she not get ticketed? It is generally held that ignorance of law is not an excuse, and we have a responsibility to know traffic law and local by-laws before using roads. While I don't want a mad ticketing blitz for every last reflector that may be a 1/4" under spec, there is no excuse to completely ignore unsafe and illegal behaviour.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:13 AM   #15
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Might I point out some real world flaws?

I'm from California, that is what I'll talk about. It is what I know.

California has licences for bikes (not riders). It is ignored. It even is of some use to the cyclist as if your bike is stolen it establishes it is your bike. If enforced it would might make a dent in bike theft. As it is it is just one more useless regulation.

36 years ago I got my first drivers license. At that time (and still today) you need an endorsement to ride a motorcycle. Back then my family had a little honda 90. So I got the endorsement. Over half the questions on the written test were NOT about law, they were OPINION on how and where to ride. One I remember was lane position. This was NOT about taking enough of the lane to have the lane vrs. so far to the side that it encouraged lane sharing. It was center of the lane vrs. where the left tires of cars go. There is no general consensus on which is best. Still this would have been Ok if the DMV had a pamphlet with the "official answers". They did not. I think they still did not when I renewed the first time.

Today they have the materials needed. But a lot of the test is not law and responsibilities of riders. It is official techniques of riding.

Oh and the first license I got had an endorsement for 'Motor driven cycles'. That limited me to small bikes like the one my family had (and on which I took my driving test). Somewhere along the way they messed up and it became a full motorcycle license, meaning I could drive anything on 2 wheels.

Simply put I don't want to see bicycles go through the same mess.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:29 AM   #16
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A rider's license would put off a lot of would-be cyclists. What we need is more cyclists, not less.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
Compeletely apart from any other considerations, you should not be coming home drunk from a bar on your bike...
As the sticker says, "I'd rather be a drunken cyclist than a designated driver."

The other sticker says something rude about drivers with cell phones.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:41 AM   #18
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Licensing of cyclists has been proven to be impractical. The cost is greater in collecting the fee and issuing the paperwork than it is worth. In other words, it would be a loss-making mark in the authorities' budgets.

As identified in other posts, licensing is an indicator of competency to operate a piece of machinery... or to raise revenue.

The issue of young riders also makes it impractical to apply. The legal maze it opens up is quite significant.

Licensing and training are two completely issues that some would like to address together. Of course, the suggestion of imposition of some sort of competency-based training on riders to gain a piece of paper immediately raises the hackles of those who wish to remain incompetent.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L
A rider's license would put off a lot of would-be cyclists. What we need is more cyclists, not less.
Do we? Why? All the data suggests that there were more bicycles sold in Australia last year than motor vehicles. Where are they?

I say thank goodness they aren't on the roads and paths in the huge numbers that are suggested -- particularly if they are operated by people whose competence is at a very low level, and therefore who put themselves and others at risk.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Useless, overbearing authoritarian interference and meddling = $7.00
Anarachistic freedom of bicycling as it is now = Priceless.
Sadly, the last "anarchistic" part is why cycling advocacy is a pointless exercise. Outside Europe, there is no coherence in cycling policy put forward by cycling advocates, and even in Europe, the motives are questionable.
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Old 06-30-05, 10:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Sadly, the last "anarchistic" part is why cycling advocacy is a pointless exercise. Outside Europe, there is no coherence in cycling policy put forward by cycling advocates, and even in Europe, the motives are questionable.

After 46 years I have come the conclusion that people are
people and are going to behave the way we as cyclists have come to
expect. Ie: "You are smaller than my car/SUV so I am just going to
move you out of my way forcefully if I have to and if you dont like it, so what ?"
No amount of authoritarian intervention is ever going to change that .
Id rather have it left alone and accept the bad stuff too knowing that the good for
me outweighs the bad. Getting people who dont understand or even like bikes
involved in policy making would be bad on bad.
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Old 06-30-05, 10:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99
Might I point out some real world flaws?

I'm from California, that is what I'll talk about. It is what I know.

California has licences for bikes (not riders). It is ignored. It even is of some use to the cyclist as if your bike is stolen it establishes it is your bike. If enforced it would might make a dent in bike theft. As it is it is just one more useless regulation..
That bicycle licence is a law enforcement tool . For the most par it is ignore d and worthless.
Back in the early to mid 90's, Beach Cities like Huntington Beach saw the fourth of July tur into drunken riots. Bikes were very convenient ways to party hop and avoid police patrols.

Eventually the police used bicycle registrations as a tool to get the drunk and disorderly of the street. If your bike wasn't licenced, it was confiscated. Draconian, yes, but if you klived in the area, and saw some kid get shot at the end of your street, you would fully appreciate the reasons for the drastic actions the police had to take.
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Old 06-30-05, 10:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
Rather I would like to see police and by-law enforcement actually enforce the traffic laws. I had a cyclist in my way yesterday who was riding against traffic in the middle of downtown. Why did she not get ticketed?
Amen! I have not documented this (I should really start keeping track), but I'd wager that at least 70 percent of people on bikes in my city ride against other traffic. In the last month I've had no negative encounters with motorists, but I've nearly been involved in two head on collisions with two different "bicyclists" at the same intersection. Both were heading west in the eastbound lane when they decided to turn south into my northbound lane. The second time, both of us had to come to a complete stop to avoid the hitting each other. She said "Sorry!" I smiled and said, "You're on the wrong side of the street." She remounted her bike, went around me and continued south in the northbound lane. I wish I'd thought of it at the time, but I should have said, "You'd really be sorry if I had been driving a car, since you'd likely be underneath it right now."
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Old 06-30-05, 10:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Licensing and training are two completely issues that some would like to address together. Of course, the suggestion of imposition of some sort of competency-based training on riders to gain a piece of paper immediately raises the hackles of those who wish to remain incompetent.
I would suggest that such imposition proposals immediatly raises another part of the anatomy for those Cyclist Superiors who wish to implement/control a bicylist licensing-education process. These are sometimes the same "advocates" comfortable describing all other cyclists as "incompetent" if they don't share the so-called advocates' rigid beliefs about bicycling.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 06-30-05 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 06-30-05, 10:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketsRedglare
If your bike wasn't licenced, it was confiscated. Draconian, yes, but if you klived in the area, and saw some kid get shot at the end of your street, you would fully appreciate the reasons for the drastic actions the police had to take.
That's the ticket. Bicyclist licensing as a gang control anti-terrorist tool. That might strike a responsive chord with some, and is just as much bicycling advocacy related as any other reason that I've seen on this thread or anywhere else.
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