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  1. #1
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    Will Bicycle licensing become a reality?

    I realize bicycle licensing is not a new subject but one day it may become a reality for every cyclist. In Philadelphia the city I live in biking has become immensely popular over the last decade as a means of transportation for yong people manly the hipster culture dawning custom fixed gear bikes or "fixies" around the city, It's become somewhat of a phenomenon in Philly there's literally at least one bike on every corner and that's a good thing but with increased bike traffic more and more accidents have accured between cyclist's and drivers some very seriose and some fatal.
    To counter this the city of Philadelphia has proposed a bicycle licensing law that would require every cyclist to get a bicycle license similar to a drivers license, the cyclist would then have to take riding courses at his or her local DMV to become a licensed rider. In theory this law would increase safety among cyclist and drivers but I think it would take away something from the biking community. I don't know about you but there's a certain freedom that comes with riding a bike a care free feeling, now don't get me wrong I'm not talking about being reckless or irresponsible on the road I just think all the rules a regulations would take some of that freedom away.

    So I want to know what you guys think tell me your thoughts on this subject, would you embrace this law if it becomes wide spread or would you oppose it? I also found an interesting article on this subject that might interest some of you, here http://www.examiner.com/x-4295-Seatt...ompts-backlash

  2. #2
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    The only reason I would care is it seems to me another layer of bureaucracy. It annoys me that gov'ts seem to find more and more ways to charge fees and taxes & regulate what we do. But that's just me. If it was law, I would likely get a license just to avoid the fines for not having one but I wouldn't be thrilled about it. I would sign a petition, write to my legislators, protest, whatever to try to stop the bill before it passed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    The only reason I would care is it seems to me another layer of bureaucracy. It annoys me that gov'ts seem to find more and more ways to charge fees and taxes & regulate what we do. But that's just me. If it was law, I would likely get a license just to avoid the fines for not having one but I wouldn't be thrilled about it. I would sign a petition, write to my legislators, protest, whatever to try to stop the bill before it passed.
    I couldn't agree with you more if this law comes to pass I will oppose it with all my heart , I think it would ruin the biking community and ruin the thrill of biking all together.

  4. #4
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I am morally opposed to the concept of licensing, however, I do think that something should be done to insure that folks are riding safely. I see salmon ninja riders a lot more frequently than I should.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeppast View Post
    I couldn't agree with you more if this law comes to pass I will oppose it with all my heart , I think it would ruin the biking community and ruin the thrill of biking all together.
    I don't want to see licenses, either--around here the DMV can't handle the job it's already got--but this post strikes me as typical conservative hysteria. Ooh, government's going to come into our garages and take our bicycles! Next they'll come for our kids' trikes!
    Again, I don't want to see licenses--but explain how this would "ruin the biking community" or have any effect at all on "the thrill of biking." I'd probably not get a license until I got caught, and then I would, but it wouldn't change the way I ride or how I feel about it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I don't want to see licenses, either--around here the DMV can't handle the job it's already got--but this post strikes me as typical conservative hysteria. Ooh, government's going to come into our garages and take our bicycles! Next they'll come for our kids' trikes!
    Again, I don't want to see licenses--but explain how this would "ruin the biking community" or have any effect at all on "the thrill of biking." I'd probably not get a license until I got caught, and then I would, but it wouldn't change the way I ride or how I feel about it.
    Haha well I'm not a conservative I'm more of a liberal but this is one area I don't want the government poking there noses in as for my comment about this law possibly ruining the biking community, more cyclist would be watched by law enforcement thus destroying the pure freedom of riding I also think it would change the way a lot of cyclist ride because lets face it most cops don't appreciate how we ride lets get real here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Where do you draw the line? Do my children have to have a license to ride their bikes to school? Or are they not going to be allowed to ride their bikes anymore?

    I live in NC if I visit Philly do I have to have a bicycle license or do I get fined? Rather than screwing with licensing they should spend the effort on education and enforcement. Currently most "drivers" that I have observed need to go back and take drivers training again based on their inability to maintain proper control of a 4000# hunk of steel. Perhaps we need to be licensing pedestrians too, I hate to tell you how many near misses I have had with people walking out in front of me against traffic lights.

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    sounds like another money grab. they try to get as much out of you as they can.

  9. #9
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazzywolfie View Post
    sounds like another money grab. they try to get as much out of you as they can.
    It would have to be very expensive license and a tiny program in order to run without debt... City of Toronto looked at it and the numbers just don't add up. It has been repeatedly tabled(by anti-bicycle advocates) and then taken off the table(by taxpayers).

  10. #10
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    Ultimately, it would cost more than it would bring in. Several jurisdictions have tried it, and no success, because it cost more to administer the program than the revenue it generated.
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  11. #11
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    Every time the powers that be look at licensing they always come to the same conclusion, it's not cost effective. Not to mention, as was posted earlier, the law simply doesn't understand the ins/outs of city riding. Alot of what I do in traffic on my bike getting back and forth on city streets is simply to be safe. Crushing myself up against the curb to ride, the way motorists envision we should, simply isn't safe. Road rules, vis-a-vis the law, does nothing to keep cyclists safe, and IMHO may in fact add to the danger. Luckily in Toronto I am allowed to take a lane, just have to be be picky in when/where you do it. (Generally a motorist has no clue this is true by law in Toronto, and get reeeally testy when you point it out. That's when you get the inferred death by motor vehicle threat/warning. 'Yea I'd love to see you try that with me behind you....'
    Last edited by TRaffic Jammer; 06-06-10 at 09:47 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    I don't see how in could be implemented or enforced. What level of government would run this? As another poster said, would kids need licences? I live in a town of 5,000. Would my five year old require a licence to ride a $75 bike with training wheels on our street or to the park? If a child doesn't require a licence and I don't see how they could be expected to, what is the legal basis for requiring adults to get licences? Do licences give police more enforcement powers? Traffic laws are independent of licencing of any kind and I know that not having a driver's licence while driving a motor vehicle does not limit the ability of police to issue tickets, so why would it for bikes.

    This issue is a red herring tabled by people who had to take 15 seconds out of their day to pass a cyclist while being in bumper to bumper traffic with half a million other poor drivers. Short of costing public money and getting people off bike and into cars it would be a wasted effort.

    On the up side it might kill the market for the 45lb wal-mart mountain bike.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    To any pro bicycle licensing I have to say - Show me the infrastructure! What am I paying for? To subsidize interstate highways and carterials? I better get my own lane everywhere I go!

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    While I'm not saying there aren't foolish riders out there -- oh, WOW, are there ever! -- it seems to me that licensing such a small percentage of the traveling population will have a less-than-negligible effect on the traffic problems. A better use of the money would be in road-user education, across the board, with some stiff requirements for continued 'certification'. IOW, make people KNOW MORE AND BETTER in order to be licensed! Make penalties stiffer for failure to comply. SO many people talk about what should reasonable for such-and-such infraction -- I say, MAKE IT UN-REASONABLE! Make it a problem, and fewer people will be cavalier about it!

    Steve Martin, back in the day, made the joke about solving the traffic problems in San Fran -- "death penalty for parking violations." While one of the funniest things he ever said during his stand-up years, its hyperbolic bent at least points in the right direction.

  15. #15
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Seriously, if it weren't for the the MOOPDs (Moving Ojects O' Potential Death), I'm sure my daily ride into work would be a deliriously fun go of it. If by some magic stroke of whatever were to happen and motorists were "cured" for lack of a better world..... Oh my I think I've blown my brain at the potential nirvana-ness of it all. But still it keeps cropping up that it's us that need the help. I was beside a cab on Queen the other night in the East End, we're approaching a crosswalk at about 35-40 kph... I see this lady on her cruiser type bike heading into the crosswalk area (not having trigger the light but still in the crosswalk area) I adjust my speed so I'll cross behind her with no line change and as I get closer to the crosswalk the cab locks up his brakes beside me and starts heading over my way in a slide as he "suddenly" see this lady I've been tracking for half a block. I carve curb side to avoid the cab's front end, she just rolls on by face captured in an OMG cyclist in the headlights kinda gaping stare and down her street she goes unharmed.

    He's cursing and swearing "Where did she come from, effin cyclists.. suddenly appears blah blah...."and I peek in to his window, say. 'Close one dude, but I saw her a half block back entering the crosswalk... wake the ***** up'

    Yea license us cyclists, we're such ***** disturbers....Lord knows it could NEEEEVER be the motorist.

  16. #16
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Sorry Mr Trustnoone, as your five year old has training wheels, he/she'll be subject to a non-standard bike configuration fee, and the insurance rider/waiver forms, and here's some new permission application forms from social services for parental instruction to teach cycling on actual roads, and accompanying materials to prepare you for the test ..... that'll be 250$ please. Oh unless you ride a "fixie" then you'll be required to take the road test as well regardless of experience. have a nice day

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    While I'm not saying there aren't foolish riders out there -- oh, WOW, are there ever! -- it seems to me that licensing such a small percentage of the traveling population will have a less-than-negligible effect on the traffic problems. A better use of the money would be in road-user education, across the board, with some stiff requirements for continued 'certification'. IOW, make people KNOW MORE AND BETTER in order to be licensed! Make penalties stiffer for failure to comply. SO many people talk about what should reasonable for such-and-such infraction -- I say, MAKE IT UN-REASONABLE! Make it a problem, and fewer people will be cavalier about it!
    Pretty much what they have done in Germany. The fee for most traffic violations is based on income and they can be STIFF! An Item on TV not too long ago about a wealthy businessman on the Autobahn being fined $20,000 equivalent for making a rude gesture to another driver, illegal in Germany.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    As soon as the politicians realize there is a potential revenue stream here to support the ever increasing free this and free that they will tax the bikes, license you and them.

    Democracy will last until the people who contribute nothing realize they can vote in people who will give them free everything paid for by fewer and fewer contributing individuals.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Will Bicycle licensing become a reality .... again?

    There ... I fixed that for you.

    Saskatchewan had bicycle licensing back in the 1970s, complete with mini license plates ... for all cyclists from the child on his/her first two-wheeler to adults. It's been done.

    Here, have a look ... scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll see the 1976 license plates for bicycles. I lived there from 1976 to 1979, so I would have had a license just like that on my bicycle.

    http://www.plateshack.com/76/SK/saskatchewan.html

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    AFAIK, every place that's tried bicycle licensing, saw it fail. In my home town, licensing was made a law in the 70s. When it was universally ignored, the Police acquired a green van and would drive around town, confiscating any unlicensed bikes they could find - even to the point of stopping kids and taking their bikes right out from under them. Believe me, even politicians who see registration dollars attached to every bike, do NOT want to see the political fallout from THEIR police force stealing bikes from little kids!

    I don't normally like using the Domino Theory, but maybe this time it's appropriate. Automobile licensing was implemented because cars were dangerous. They were noisy, went fast, and scared horses. But bicycling has traditionally been unregistered, just like walking and other forms of self-propulsion. If we register bikes, what's next? Rollerblades? Tennis shoes?

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    Another $ grabbing scam to pump up the US economy.

    On Tuesday, Californians will get a chance to vote for Proposition 17, sponsored by the insurance companies to save them $! I'm sure 20% of the brain-dead voters will vote YES on 17.

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Don't know about the snow-addled canooks, but Americans have a widely upheld right to travel under ones own locomotion on public highways.

    motor vehicles and motorists are licensed based on supreme court rulings back in the 1920's that yes, cars kill, present a grave hazard to the public, and yes, cars damage roads.

    a plan to license bicyclists fails to pass legal scrutiny; a plan to license bikes serves as a disincentive to bicycling and has been shown to be a revenue drain on municipalities that enact them.

    punitive disincentive to active transportation? lets not even entertain the thought.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    I would gladly take a test and pay money to get a little license plate to put on the back of my bike if it would give biking more legitimacy as a form of transportation in the eyes of drivers. I think it would help raise the awareness of bicyclist and drivers and make conditions a little safer.

  24. #24
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    I simply cannot believe that because I paid 20 bucks for a plastic plate on my bike, motorists are going to behave differently on the roads, the rules of cause and effect say this is virtually impossible. If they don't agree with your right to be there at all how is anything going to legitimize you other than THEM being educated and having their behaviors corrected/enforced.

    I mean IF it did, I'd be first in line for this magic talisman of protection.

  25. #25
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    I already had a bicycle license for my sting-ray 50 years ago.

    I wonder how the mayors and such will divide that money amongst themselves.
    Last edited by Booger1; 06-07-10 at 12:01 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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