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  1. #1
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    Licensing for Cyclists

    Today, while on my usual ride, I passed another cyclist who was laboring slowly up a hill. He caught up to me when I stopped for the next red light, and demanded, "Are you playing games, or just an *******?"

    I was bewildered, and asked him "What?! What are you talking about?"

    He snapped, "F*** you!" and rode off.

    Granted, he may have been paranoid; but what bothered me the most was having no idea what might have set him off.

    Finally I realized that he may have: (1) not known that cyclists are required to obey traffic laws (including stopping at red lights), (2) assumed that I only stopped because I felt like it, and then (3) assumed that anyone who passes him and then stops ahead of him must be messing with him.

    I started thinking about how to teach all cyclists what the rules of the road really are. A public information campaign probably wouldn't reach everyone, and driver's ed sure won't teach you how to ride a bike. Then I remembered hearing that motorcycle riders need a "motorcycle endorsement" on their driver's license in order to show that they've taken the motorcycle version of driver's ed. Maybe a "bicycle endorsement," and mandatory education for cyclists, would help all of us share the road safely.

    Has there been any discussion of this in the past?

    What do you think the pros and cons would be?

  2. #2
    Mxu
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    Senior Member Mxu's Avatar
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    A lot of the allure of cycling has to do with no liscence bullcrap, I think.

  3. #3
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonrider
    I started thinking about how to teach all cyclists what the rules of the road really are. A public information campaign probably wouldn't reach everyone, and driver's ed sure won't teach you how to ride a bike. Then I remembered hearing that motorcycle riders need a "motorcycle endorsement" on their driver's license in order to show that they've taken the motorcycle version of driver's ed. Maybe a "bicycle endorsement," and mandatory education for cyclists, would help all of us share the road safely.

    Has there been any discussion of this in the past?

    What do you think the pros and cons would be?
    I agree with you bicyclist are the only ones that use the roads that are not required to carry a license or take a written or riding test. This could be accomplished with an endorsement on your drivers license or ID card, which most of us already carry. This would be for making sure the rider had knowledge their responsibilities on the road as well as the ability to safely operate a bike in traffic. At the same time the right of cyclists need to be taught to all other users of the road.
    Matthew 6

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    Should we require pedestrian licenses as well?

    If either a pedestrian or a cyclist does something illegal they can already be cited for violating the law.

    Licensing bikes will only lead to more fat people.

  5. #5
    Member Velo_Seth's Avatar
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    I don't think it had anything to do with rules of the road. I recently moved from the Seattle area to the Boston area. My experience is that if you want to avoid having profanities spewed at you for no reason, you should move somewhere away from Boston.

    But to answer your question, I don't think that bicycle endorsements are practical. There's a precident that children are allowed to ride bicycles (otherwise, how would they get around? And how would bicycling start if not with kids?). And I, for one, would be disappointed telling my four-year-old that he couldn't ride his bike on our cul-du-sac without taking a written test

    But communication of the rules does need to happen, and it should be communicated soon after kids start learning to ride. Perhaps some sort of communication in early schooling that could be re-enforced every once in a while during school would work. Then, later, re-enforced during driver's ed. Are there any videos aimed at young kids who are starting to ride on roads with other traffic?

  6. #6
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJS666
    Should we require pedestrian licenses as well?
    Why? They are not allowed in the street. I didn't say a license to ride on the sidewalk.

    If either a pedestrian or a cyclist does something illegal they can already be cited for violating the law.
    Whats this got to do with what we are talking about? It is not a question of doing things illegal a drivers license is not only for ID purposes but it is also proof that you have passed a skills and knowledge test.

    Licensing bikes will only lead to more fat people.
    No overeating and lack of exercise does that.
    Matthew 6

  7. #7
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo_Seth
    I don't think it had anything to do with rules of the road. I recently moved from the Seattle area to the Boston area. My experience is that if you want to avoid having profanities spewed at you for no reason, you should move somewhere away from Boston.

    But to answer your question, I don't think that bicycle endorsements are practical. There's a precident that children are allowed to ride bicycles (otherwise, how would they get around? And how would bicycling start if not with kids?). And I, for one, would be disappointed telling my four-year-old that he couldn't ride his bike on our cul-du-sac without taking a written test

    But communication of the rules does need to happen, and it should be communicated soon after kids start learning to ride. Perhaps some sort of communication in early schooling that could be re-enforced every once in a while during school would work. Then, later, re-enforced during driver's ed. Are there any videos aimed at young kids who are starting to ride on roads with other traffic?
    There would have to be something figured out for kids. But here is also something that has to change, that bicycle's are toys. Just today an 8 year old boy was hit in White Center riding his bike down 1st Ave S thats a major street no kid that age should be riding on that street.

    I don't know about any videos but there are groups out there that teach children to ride. Cascade Bike club offers things like that here.
    Matthew 6

  8. #8
    Senior Member CPcyclist's Avatar
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    I don't think licencing will solve anything this "idea" get floated by those who have been brain washed be the motorist propaganda, why not require plates for every bike you own so motorist can ID you to the cops because they think you are breaking the law by not riding in the ditch. The way to get better understanding is to teach students in drivers ed to respect bicycles on the road and inform them of the rules for bikes as time goes on these people will become parents and hopefully teach their children proper bicycle DRIVING. I think most of the problem stems form bikes being viewed as toys and parent not teaching their kids.

    Why do we need another government program to licence and track cyclists? This would also require more uniformity in the laws across the nation. Maybe not a bad thing in the end but the means still suck.

    Done with Rant.

  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    If liscensing allowed me (and required insurance carriers to provide it) to buy liability and medical insurance for me and my bike similar to car insurance for a couple hunnert a year perhaps, I'd be for it....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonrider

    I started thinking about how to teach all cyclists what the rules of the road really are. A public information campaign probably wouldn't reach everyone, and driver's ed sure won't teach you how to ride a bike. Then I remembered hearing that motorcycle riders need a "motorcycle endorsement" on their driver's license in order to show that they've taken the motorcycle version of driver's ed. Maybe a "bicycle endorsement," and mandatory education for cyclists, would help all of us share the road safely.

    Has there been any discussion of this in the past?

    What do you think the pros and cons would be?
    Most cyclists on the road over the age of 16 are licensed drivers and already should have a good understanding of traffic laws. They guy that passed you probably knows that running a red light on a bicycle is against the law... he was just pissed that you blew by him going up a hill. Cycling licenses aren't going to change the fact that some people are jerks.

    If we do as you suggest, cycling will eventually join the long list of other life activities that are no longer our right to do as free citizens, but a "priviledge" granted by the state. It could lead to license plates for enforcement and mandatory liability insurance requirements down the road.

    I think a better way to achieve your goal is to provide voluntary programs... in fact, I seem to recall the grade schools around here doing "cycle town" where the police set up a mini town on the playground and teach the kids traffic laws... maybe a more advanced version of that as kids got older?

  11. #11
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPcyclist
    The way to get better understanding is to teach students in drivers ed to respect bicycles on the road and inform them of the rules for bikes as time goes on these people will become parents and hopefully teach their children proper bicycle DRIVING. I think most of the problem stems form bikes being viewed as toys and parent not teaching their kids.
    Are we in agreement that education is the problem. I often have more bike then car incidents.

  12. #12
    Banned. red house's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo_Seth
    I don't think it had anything to do with rules of the road. I recently moved from the Seattle area to the Boston area. My experience is that if you want to avoid having profanities spewed at you for no reason, you should move somewhere away from Boston.

    But to answer your question, I don't think that bicycle endorsements are practical. There's a precident that children are allowed to ride bicycles (otherwise, how would they get around? And how would bicycling start if not with kids?). And I, for one, would be disappointed telling my four-year-old that he couldn't ride his bike on our cul-du-sac without taking a written test

    But communication of the rules does need to happen, and it should be communicated soon after kids start learning to ride. Perhaps some sort of communication in early schooling that could be re-enforced every once in a while during school would work. Then, later, re-enforced during driver's ed. Are there any videos aimed at young kids who are starting to ride on roads with other traffic?

    Yo Velo..what the Eff are you effin talkin about?...Why you effin gotta go say an effed-up thing like that about my effin city? thats pretty effed-up...-eff

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Just a thought..I recently met a cyclist..Has a problem coming down Mt.Tamplais (Sp ?) Marin County, Calif...Well,the speed limit for cyclists is very low, so he said...So he gets around it by not having a speedometer..
    No licenses, speedometers not required..Once they start making us have a license, it might effect regulations such as having additional equiptment such as speedometers..
    Not to say, I disagree with obeying speed laws..Just in your enthusism to have us obey the law.. they might be additional consquences..
    By the way..this person, finally got arrested..In case we wondered.. When you get arrested on a bicycle..Well, in this guy's case..They put the bike in the trunk and Did not confiscate it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    Constitutional issue in this country.
    Free movement dosn't always mean motorized transport but you'd have court battles out the ears for years on end if you tried to 'license' bikes. And other towns and states would jump on the boat and 'license' other non motorized transportation.
    Pedestrians are different. 'license' bikes and what happens to towns with no sidewalks? Do you need a license to use the roadway? If so then you'd need gov't approval to leave your house and neighborhood... thus the constitutional issue.

  15. #15
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    Why? They are not allowed in the street. I didn't say a license to ride on the sidewalk.
    Yes they are, especially in places don't have sidewalks. And unless you city has a skywalk system, pedestrians have to use the street at every intersection.

  16. #16
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Seth
    Perhaps some sort of communication in early schooling that could be re-enforced every once in a while during school would work.
    Yeah, one MORE thing for the schools to do that the parents aren't doing. Let's see, we will fit this in between the required state and federal mandated testing for math, reading, science and writing that most kids in most schools aren't passing and for which many schools have already given up subjects like music, PE, art and other valuable "electives." But, we will add "bicycle education." Makes sense to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Rider
    Granted, he may have been paranoid; but what bothered me the most was having no idea what might have set him off.
    Hey, a jerk is a jerk is a jerk. Let it go.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-11-05 at 08:07 AM.

  17. #17
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    Yes they are, especially in places don't have sidewalks. And unless you city has a skywalk system, pedestrians have to use the street at every intersection.
    boy you guys have way too much time on your hands. The point is they are not USUALLY allowed in the street they can not for instance walk down the middle of the lane. They cannot make a left turn in the middle of the street and they do not have the 'Same rights snd respondibilities" as any other vehicle on the street. Please try and note the difference.

    I do respect opinions but keep the arguments real huh. Splitting hairs doesn't get things accomplished.
    Matthew 6

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    Are we in agreement that education is the problem. I often have more bike then car incidents.
    No, WE are not in agreement.

    Especially not in agreement with a vague proposal of an undefined solution (i.e. more "education") to an undefined vague "problem" (not enough "education"). The only specific problem identified is your frequent encounters with undefined "incidents."

    Even less in agreement with any licensing scheme requiring/promoting an undefined "education" program for cyclists (or any proprietary "education" program) with ZERO credible evidence of producing significant postive results for past cycling "students"; "education" programs with even less chance of producing significant postive results for coerced cycling students.

  19. #19
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    NO reason is this:

    Cars require licenses because they are HEAVY MACHINERY, like a forklift.

    Bikes are machinery, but light machinery, like a jack. Light = no license needed.

    What is needed however is bicycle ed in schools....explain fully about how to use a bike properly and safely.

    Given this will raise all kinda of opposing thoughts, since some don't adhere to local laws regarding bikes (only time I will ever ride the sidewalk is in event of a malfunctioning light). And it is this lack of consistent thought amongst us that makes it near impossible for any kind of proper traffic training. Someone will always go up and "Oh! I blast 35mph on a sidewalk every day" (some guy here actually does this, and I usually see him nearly get hit about 20 odd times every time I see him as well). Personally I think he needs the class too.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member CPcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    Are we in agreement that education is the problem. I often have more bike then car incidents.
    Yes, I see it as one more thing American parents have seen as "not my problem to teach my child" the schools need to do it". I do also agree with another poster who did not want to see it become the school's responsibility. It is up to parent and the cycling comunity as a whole to do the education.


    If people were exposed to cycling law during motor vehicle drivers education a respect of other user on the road may begin to develop but I only see long term solutions solving this there are no quick fixed that won't end up a government nightmare for cyclists.

  21. #21
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    catatonic has the best point--bad cyclists are a threat to themselves; bad motorists are a hazard to others. Add to that the problem of what to do about kids (I was riding to school when I was eight), licensing cyclists is neither practical nor good policy.

  22. #22
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Just a debate point. If cyclists being licensed guranteed us access to the road or a part of the road, I would be more open minded. Was there not a story here at BF that some cyclist hit an older woman when she almost doored him and she was killed.? Couple months back..

  23. #23
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Wait, it seems like the person got poed becasue you passed him. It would be odd that someone would get pissed becasue you stopped at a light. Or I cant read. Which is highly possible
    ----------------------------------------------------------

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by red house
    Yo Velo..what the Eff are you effin talkin about?...Why you effin gotta go say an effed-up thing like that about my effin city? thats pretty effed-up...-eff


  25. #25
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    No, WE are not in agreement.

    Especially not in agreement with a vague proposal of an undefined solution (i.e. more "education") to an undefined vague "problem" (not enough "education"). The only specific problem identified is your frequent encounters with undefined "incidents."

    Even less in agreement with any licensing scheme requiring/promoting an undefined "education" program for cyclists (or any proprietary "education" program) with ZERO credible evidence of producing significant positive results for past cycling "students"; "education" programs with even less chance of producing significant positive results for coerced cycling students.
    I painted broad strokes for general ideas. Cycling is often location based, adherence to laws are not uniformly enforced. I think everybody needs to know the rules for riding a bike: both for safety and legitimacy. There are many issues initially met with incredible opposition that resulted in universal acceptance: Drunk driving, seat belts, school zone speed, drivers licensing.
    I would assume from your zealous quotations you find the entire subject repulsive and will continue in your enlightened "When they pry my bike from my cold dead hands" army of one. Or, you could offer ideas, examples and proposals that promote cycling for the entire community.

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