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  1. #1
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Should there be a bike licence requirement to ride on roadways?

    Given the number of wrong way riders, sidewalk riders, red light runners, I'm starting to think that even cycling is too difficult for some people. Should all cyclists have to take a written test before riding on the street?

  2. #2
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    We've had a discussion concerning this recently, general consensus is "no". Some say no because of the freedom issues, some say no due to enforcement issues.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  3. #3
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Well we all know some people abuse their freedoms.

    Maybe some non-profit group could print brochures which bike stores can hand out with every bike/helmet/puncture repair, or if you get ticketed for riding the wrong way, you must take a class on bike riding safety.

  4. #4
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    Well we all know some people abuse their freedoms.

    Maybe some non-profit group could print brochures which bike stores can hand out with every bike/helmet/puncture repair,
    They already do have handouts.
    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    or if you get ticketed for riding the wrong way, you must take a class on bike riding safety.
    Good luck getting enforcement

  5. #5
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    sometimes I wonder

  6. #6
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    There was an article in the NY Times a few weeks ago about a national ID card, which mentioned that the historical record is very clear that licensing of drivers and automobiles has never really been about safety. The real purposes have always been identification and tax collection, safety is just a pretext (and a thin one at that).

    Bicycles are taxed at point of purchase, and identification is not much of an issue with cyclists as it's generally difficult for cyclists to outrun law enforcement. So no, there's no need for additional licensing.

  7. #7
    No pain, no gain. PainTrain's Avatar
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    I'm as a rule an advocate of personal privacy and hate the gov't. forcing itself in where it doesn't belong.

    I do see one good point to bicycle licensing though: It would once and for all shut down ignorant drivers' rants that cyclists should "stay off the road".

  8. #8
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    No, bicycles shouldn't be licenced. One very important thing that noone has failed to mention is this. Any vehicle that fits the crieteria to be licenced must also carry uhhhhhhh Liability insurance. That's the law in the majority of states. It applies to motorcycles, motor scooters, and even electic scooters that children drive.

    You would be required to purchase and have proof of liability insurance before a licence would be issued. This law will never be passed because bicycles are not motorized vehichles. If however it does become law for licencing of bicycles for public roads and highways. You will have to purchase liability insurance.

    As previously stated Motorcycles, motor scooters, and even electric scooters are required by law to be licenced and insured. Bicycles are getting a free ride here. They have the right to ride on the highways, however they don't have to be licenced or insured. Although I don't believe that bicycles should be licenced, Bicycle riders should stop whining about traffic. Since there not paying a cent for insurance or licence plates.

  9. #9
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo54
    Bicycle riders should stop whining about traffic. Since there not paying a cent for insurance or licence plates.
    My taxes pay for those roads so I'll complain all I damn well want

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    Actually quite a bit of road funding comes from income and property taxes, so bicyclists pay their share. And funds from bicycle regstrations too.

  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PainTrain
    I do see one good point to bicycle licensing though: It would once and for all shut down ignorant drivers' rants that cyclists should "stay off the road".
    What makes you think so? I seriously doubt ANY effect on "ignorant driver's rants."

  12. #12
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo54
    Although I don't believe that bicycles should be licenced, Bicycle riders should stop whining about traffic. Since there not paying a cent for insurance or licence plates.
    So, while I am riding and my registered and insured automobiles sit in the driveway doing no damage to the roadways I am not paying for the construction and upkeep of the roads? Do not my income, sales, and real estate taxes also contribute to the benefit of the highways?

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    Licenses were required for bicycles in Columbus Ohio in the early 1960's, although the requirement was not really enforced.
    -
    The question really is, and it is a legitimate question, should bicyclists be required to carry liability insurance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo54
    Bicycles are getting a free ride here. They have the right to ride on the highways, however they don't have to be licenced or insured. Although I don't believe that bicycles should be licenced, Bicycle riders should stop whining about traffic. Since there not paying a cent for insurance or licence plates.
    Ah, the world's stupidest arguement against bicyclists rears its head in the bike forums.

    Too bad I am late to the pile-on.
    Remember: 98% of Drivers rate themselves as at least "Above Average".

  15. #15
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    Surely you don't believe taht just because you pay for something through taxes, you have an automatic--or equivalent--right to use it, do you?

    the government can assign usage limits pretty much as it feels like it, absent certain effects on protected classes of people (cyclists are not a protected class).

    Don't like it? Vote in new politicians. That's how the system works. EVEN IF you pay taxes on the road system through your property, you don't therefore gain a 'right to the road'. Similarly, the concept that as a pure cyclist you don't get any benefit from it is also relatively ludicrous... have you ever used the mail? bought anything from out of state? travelled on a bus?

    the arguments here are oddly similar to the 'i don't have to pay taxes if I don't use government services' nutcases. they always lose in the courts, for good reason. All the whining in the world isn't going to accurately support a "I've got a right too!" claim.

    Why, exactly, is any argument that suggests roads are primarily for cars the 'worlds stupidest' argument?

  16. #16
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I am against bike and pedestrian licenses and permits to use "public" roads. I think that motorists should have licenses because of the damage that they can do to others. If we use cars/motorists as an example, no way does having a license give a person good sense, or even an understanding the laws. I see bike licensing as a regressive tax that hurts growth in the area that is needed.

    The state says that no one has a "right to the road" it is a (revocable) privilege granted by the state in the form of a license.

    Soon we will have national ID cards and this all will be moot. To me, I would rather loose a random 5000 people, (it is only 1/10 the number of motorists killed every year by cars), than suffer all sorts of privacy losses.

    If all people had insurance there would be less litigation but liability insurance for bicyclists-- that is funny. Dogs and kids probably do more damage than bikes.

    I think that bicyclists should complain about motorists and others who break the laws we are (still) free to complain. Some bicyclists are after all, voting, taxpaying, licensed drivers. Cars suck and you have been fooled if you believe otherwise.

    Who would benefit from the licensing of bikes? Motorists, the state, oil companies but not bicyclists.

  17. #17
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Miskatonic
    Ah, the world's stupidest arguement against bicyclists rears its head in the bike forums.

    Too bad I am late to the pile-on.
    Right on! The vast majority of adult bicyclists are car owners so they DO pay road and gasoline taxes, liscense fees, etc. The gov't should be paying US to use the roads with our bicycles. Also, our bicycles are not ruining roads, taking out guardrails and signs, burning rubber over newly-painted traffic lines, leaking oil and gasoline and on and on ad nauseum.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  18. #18
    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    Taxes and other issues are really moot, State Law gives us the right to use the road. The naysayers can complain all they want as far as I'm concerned.
    I wanna ride!
    '90ish Giant Perigee

  19. #19
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehammarlund
    Why, exactly, is any argument that suggests roads are primarily for cars the 'worlds stupidest' argument?
    Because roads predate cars (and bicycles) by a couple thousand (or more) years.

    Because to be denied the use of the roads would effectively confine a person to his own property.

  20. #20
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    if i need a licence to ride a bike, then i would go and get a license. until that time it is my right to ride a bike and a privilege to drive a car.example,
    when a car driver yells at me get on the side walk, they should know better because they had to take a test and learn the rules and therefore should know bikes ride with traffic. cars should know better because they are smarter than bike commuters or at least had to study rules of the road. so i will keep running reds until i have a licence to ride my bike and have to pay insurance, and have my bike insurance go up when i get running red light tickets and going to fast tickets.

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterJ
    The question really is, and it is a legitimate question, should bicyclists be required to carry liability insurance?
    Liability for what? An infintesimal possibility (in comparison to motorized vehicles) of causing significant monetary damage to others' property or health? Liable for slowing Bubba down from making his appointed rounds?

    Get Real! And that is my legitimate answer.

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    FLBandit has it right: If you have a legal right to use the road, then.... you have a legal right to use the road. I've got no beef with that. If you don't have 'enough' of a right for you, then change it legally.

    Smurfy and supcom have it blatantly wrong. Supcom uses a is a non sequitur. his/her point might be relevant if we were arguing about whether roads should have been primarily for cars 1,000 years ago. But that's not what we're talking about. Alternatively, it might be relevant if s/he wants to claim that society is unchanging and that the priorities of old should still govern our current behavior in all respects. In which case, I'm off to stone my neighbor, but I'll be back soon

    Smurfy on the other hand makes a different logical blunder. The broad statements of perceived detriments of cars is NO supposrt--absent a comparative statement of detriments of bikes, and benefits of cars.

    Why do I care? I hate bad arguments. I particularly hate bad arguments with sweepingly broad claims, or those that malign opponents: "if you don't think cagers are idiots, your arrgument sucks" and the like. Logic is a good thing. If you don't like cars, say so; opinions are always valid and can't really be attacked (though they offer no logical support) but when you start stating mistruths or illogical conclusions, well...

  23. #23
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    In several places here it looks like people are mentioning being "given" the right for this or that. You've got it a bit backwards. Governments do not grant rights they restrict them. You HAVE the right to do whatever you want. The government that you have the misfortune of being born under merely restricts those rights in various ways depending on who and where you are.

  24. #24
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    Given the number of wrong way riders, sidewalk riders, red light runners, I'm starting to think that even cycling is too difficult for some people. Should all cyclists have to take a written test before riding on the street?

    Hell no, but we should use community service as a punishment more often.

    I say instead of a fine, just make them do x hours. After a while, people learn their lesson.

    If they skip, then it's straight to sentencing and house arrest.....plus fines.

    If they hardened things up, maybe people would learn to obey the law.


    If drivers got community service for speeding, that would change a lot of people's behaviors real quick....and allow the city to do all kinds of things with the "free" manpower, as far as fixing things up and such.....imagine a park with a dozen or so people keeping it clean....it might actually look nice!

  25. #25
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehammarlund
    Smurfy and supcom have it blatantly wrong. Supcom uses a is a non sequitur. his/her point might be relevant if we were arguing about whether roads should have been primarily for cars 1,000 years ago. But that's not what we're talking about. Alternatively, it might be relevant if s/he wants to claim that society is unchanging and that the priorities of old should still govern our current behavior in all respects. In which case, I'm off to stone my neighbor, but I'll be back soon
    My point was that common law (Law which derives its authority solely from usages and customs of immemorial antiquity or from the judgment and decrees of courts - thanks to google for the definition) gives us the right to use the roads. Previous, and even ancient, history and usage of roads is not "non sequiter" in this context unless there is codified law to the contrary (limited access roads like interstates, for example). The fact that roads are most often used by motor vehicles and are built to standards necessary to accomodate them does not preclude the use of the roads by pedestrians or other human powered transportation.

    Since the subject of the discussion is whether cyclists should be required to apply for and receive prior permission in the form of some sort of license before using the roads, we are effectively discussing whether cyclists should have their right to use the road converted to a privilege which could be revoked for any number of reasons at the whim of the state or federal government. While some may see this as a reasonable tradeoff in an effort to reduce the number of poor cyclists, I feel that this is hardly a good reason to abandon an ancient right.

    There are already laws against riding on the wrong side of the street, running red lights, and stop signs. If these laws are not already enforced, then requiring a cyclist license is hardly going to provide for additional enforcement. Thus, the trading of a right for a privilege will be a loss of freedom with little, if anything, in return.

    EDIT: After posting, I realized the simple argument is that roads are not built for cars. Roads are built to effect the transportation of people and goods from place to place. The fact that automobiles are the common method (today) of effecting that transport does not, in itself, exclude other means, either past or future which may be capable of using the roads.
    Last edited by supcom; 07-12-05 at 10:12 PM.

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