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Old 01-27-11, 06:37 PM   #1
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The legislation of cycling

I've been wondering how long it will take ,if ever, for states to start to require either a permit , or license, to ride a bike on the public roads along with a yearly plate fee & insurance for each bike you ride on public roads.

Now this might seem ridiculous but with the rising price of oil/fuel the number of cyclist on public roads is going to increase dramatically. This increase will quickly bring cyclist to the front due to the increased traffic congestion and rider/car accidents. It's all about numbers really. More riders more traffic problems more opportunity for cash strapped states to find a new tax. The free ride for cyclist will soon be over.
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Old 01-27-11, 08:09 PM   #2
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I've been wondering how long it will take ,if ever, for states to start to require either a permit , or license, to ride a bike on the public roads along with a yearly plate fee & insurance for each bike you ride on public roads.

Now this might seem ridiculous but with the rising price of oil/fuel the number of cyclist on public roads is going to increase dramatically. This increase will quickly bring cyclist to the front due to the increased traffic congestion and rider/car accidents. It's all about numbers really. More riders more traffic problems more opportunity for cash strapped states to find a new tax. The free ride for cyclist will soon be over.
You're a bit behind the times there. At least one province, that I know of from personal experience, and several more that I've heard of, already did that ... yes, complete with a miniature licence plate and everything ... back in the late 1970s.

Been there ... done that.
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Old 01-27-11, 08:18 PM   #3
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Lots of places used to have mandatory bike registration programs. Most of them have disappeared as people came to the realization that they're more cost and hassle than they're worth.

As an example, This proposed program in Oregon (which I'm assuming has by now fallen by the wayside) would have paid the agency responsible for issuing the licenses $9 per license per year just to collect fees and issue licenses.
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Old 01-27-11, 09:04 PM   #4
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if any of that happens on a large scale, I'd imagine that the insurance companies will recognize an opportunity to sell a cyclist policy to cover injuries and equipment replacement in the event of an accident.
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Old 01-27-11, 09:21 PM   #5
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Allow me to point out that all of these bicycle license or plate plans were before large numbers of bicycles and were costly all manual plans before computers ran everything.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-27-11, 09:32 PM   #6
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Lots of places used to have mandatory bike registration programs. Most of them have disappeared as people came to the realization that they're more cost and hassle than they're worth.
Yep, it's been looked at by several authorities in several countries over the years, and inevitably the idea is dropped as soon as the economists take a look at it. Even those places that did bring it in came to the same realisation and either quietly dropped it, or simply didn't bother trying to enforce it.

That said, it *could* become a reality if by some freak of probability, there was a dramatic increase in the number of cyclists using the roads, and hence an increase in potential revenue from such a system. However, given that people have been whining about fuel prices for 25 years, given that bicycles have outsold cars 3 to 1 over the last 10 years or so (at least here in Australia), and given that neither of these factors have translated to more people actually riding their bicycles, I think this is somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible.
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Old 01-27-11, 09:33 PM   #7
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Allow me to point out that all of these bicycle license or plate plans were before large numbers of bicycles and were costly all manual plans before computers ran everything.
Queensland in 2002 wasn't. Their plan was to register cyclists and use the money to pay for bicycle infrastructure. Like all the others, the idea was dropped as soon as the bean counters looked at it.

EDIT: And neither was the proposed California plan of 2004 from memory.
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Old 01-27-11, 09:51 PM   #8
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And there's the proposal earlier this month in NJ that has now been withdrawn by its sponsor. Such legislation was quite popular and was widely implemented 50 years ago. My first Schwinn had a whole series of annual registration stickers on the rear fender. They have gradually been dropped as ineffective, too costly, and counter-productive. Proposals come up periodically to have such registration and/or licensing and they all get shot down once the costs and benefits are examined in any detail. The trend seems clear and I see no indication that anything will change that trend in the foreseeable future.
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Old 01-27-11, 11:38 PM   #9
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if any of that happens on a large scale, I'd imagine that the insurance companies will recognize an opportunity to sell a cyclist policy to cover injuries and equipment replacement in the event of an accident.
I used to have bicycle insurance in the '70s. I assume it stopped being offered because they weren't making money at it.
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Old 01-28-11, 07:21 AM   #10
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I think that the OP's main premise, that people switching from driving cars to bicycles will increase traffic congestion, is seriously flawed.

Most communities promote bicycle use precisely to decrease traffic congestion.
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Old 01-28-11, 07:30 AM   #11
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Most communities promote bicycle use precisely to decrease traffic congestion.
I suppose if cycling on the road went beyond a certain point it would increase congestion insofar as motor vehicles would experience more delays due to waiting to pass cyclists.
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Old 01-28-11, 07:47 AM   #12
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I can't speak for everywhere, but I don't see it ever working out here. It would get a ton of opposition from avid/commuter cyclists, recreational cyclists, and folks advocating for the poor who use bikes as transportation. I also don't see it being enforced except as an excuse to hassle "suspicious" people.
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Old 01-28-11, 08:15 AM   #13
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I can't speak for everywhere, but I don't see it ever working out here. It would get a ton of opposition from avid/commuter cyclists, recreational cyclists, and folks advocating for the poor who use bikes as transportation. I also don't see it being enforced except as an excuse to hassle "suspicious" people.
It would certainly sit uneasily with so much of what governments spout about being committed to carbon reduction and emissions reduction, if they then turned around and imposed charges on people who were trying to use a form of transport that's virtually carbon-free.

So with that in mind, I fear we can look forward to governments doing exactly that.
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Old 01-28-11, 08:46 AM   #14
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Perhaps after gas gets to around $10/gallon and the general population can no longer afford to drive. Then the taxes which comprise most of the price decline The Gub'ment will seek alternative sources to steal from. Meanwhile the economy will truly tank because many will no longer be able to afford to work because of (due to Gub'ment inaction on public infrastructure) transportation costs. Sounds like a bad movie script doesn't it? It may take the guise of increased taxes on bicycles and parts which is far easier to track and enforce as well as more frequent.
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Old 01-28-11, 11:44 AM   #15
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I suppose if cycling on the road went beyond a certain point it would increase congestion insofar as motor vehicles would experience more delays due to waiting to pass cyclists.


So if they have any sense they follow Hollands example where Bikes rule.


Not just as a cyclist but one thing I loved about the major towns and cities in Holland was the fact that a car is only used if necessary. Everyone uses their bike for transport. It's cheaper and unless high milage involved--it is faster.
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Old 01-28-11, 12:18 PM   #16
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So if they have any sense they follow Hollands example where Bikes rule.
Amsterdam can be a bit of a liability as a pedestrian, because of bikes coming from all angles.

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Not just as a cyclist but one thing I loved about the major towns and cities in Holland was the fact that a car is only used if necessary. Everyone uses their bike for transport. It's cheaper and unless high milage involved--it is faster.
Here in London I reckon that anything up to 5-6 miles is probably faster by bike than most other forms of transport. Even a car might beat the bike over the distance but then by the time it's parked the bike often wins. Over 8-10 miles I'm not hugely slower than the train, and I'm not exactly an Olympic athlete.

Of course Holland has the advantage that it's mostly flat. I wonder how many people would prefer to take motor transport if they had to contend with big hills. The London-Brighton ride is legendary for a couple of monstrous hills.
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Old 01-28-11, 01:20 PM   #17
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Sadly in the USA infrastructure is the domain of the automobile. Unless you wish to live in the city cycling takes a certain dedication.
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Old 01-28-11, 03:02 PM   #18
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Amsterdam can be a bit of a liability as a pedestrian, because of bikes coming from all angles.



Here in London I reckon that anything up to 5-6 miles is probably faster by bike than most other forms of transport. Even a car might beat the bike over the distance but then by the time it's parked the bike often wins. Over 8-10 miles I'm not hugely slower than the train, and I'm not exactly an Olympic athlete.

Of course Holland has the advantage that it's mostly flat. I wonder how many people would prefer to take motor transport if they had to contend with big hills. The London-Brighton ride is legendary for a couple of monstrous hills.
Didn't realise you were from the UK. London is a typical city with plenty of Traffic. Bikes are Quicker in most cities. I sometimes commute from Brighton (A Small City) 8 miles along the seafront and a bike is quicker anytime. Rush hour and the 20 miles from where I work to Lewes and a bike is quicker.

And London to Brighton--- The hills are where I train--Offroad from Eastbourne to Ditchling.

And Holland and you are right about being a pedestrian. I went to Amsterdam 8 years ago and could not get used to the number of bikes. Kept hearing these bells everywhere while I was walking down the 20ft wide marked path at the edge of the pavement (Sidewalk). I was walking in the bike lane that was next to the 6ft sidewalk and the Single carriageway for the cars.
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Old 01-28-11, 03:23 PM   #19
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Didn't realise you were from the UK. London is a typical city with plenty of Traffic. Bikes are Quicker in most cities. I sometimes commute from Brighton (A Small City) 8 miles along the seafront and a bike is quicker anytime. Rush hour and the 20 miles from where I work to Lewes and a bike is quicker.
I'm not sure that London is entirely typical but certainly has the benefits and issues you'd expect of a big city. What did surprise me was the time I beat a bus home from friends - my wife didn't want to cycle so I walked with her to the bus stop, waited for the bus and then took off after it. From bus stop to bus stop, along the bus route, at some silly hour of the night, and I still beat the bus. Admittedly only by a minute or so and I was a bath of sweat, but then I could easily lose 40-50 pounds of surplus weight and ride a mountain bike.

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And Holland and you are right about being a pedestrian. I went to Amsterdam 8 years ago and could not get used to the number of bikes. Kept hearing these bells everywhere while I was walking down the 20ft wide marked path at the edge of the pavement (Sidewalk). I was walking in the bike lane that was next to the 6ft sidewalk and the Single carriageway for the cars.
When I was in Amsterdam I nearly got run over by bikes many times and had a near miss or two with the trams. There seems very little to tell the unwary just where the next hazard is going to come from. I loved Amsterdam, I'm just not sure I'd want my home town to feel quite so chaotic.
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Old 01-28-11, 05:17 PM   #20
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I also don't see it being enforced except as an excuse to hassle "suspicious" people.
Enforcing it would be an issue ... and probably was back in the 1970s when governments tried this sort of thing ... given that the majority of the population who ride bicycles are children.

Police are going to stop eight-year-olds and demand to know where their licences are? And then try to fine them?
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Old 01-28-11, 10:01 PM   #21
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I can find a group of people who can make the case that those proposals are racist. Most poor are minorities. Many of the poor use bicycles as cheap transportation. Putting a fee and licenses on bicycles puts an unfair burden on the poor/minorities, hence the fee and license is racist.

If you live down here, you'd get that.
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Old 01-29-11, 01:25 PM   #22
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"racist" ??????????
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Old 01-29-11, 09:12 PM   #23
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"racist" ??????????
Maybe not racist so much as classist?
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Old 01-30-11, 09:43 PM   #24
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Enforcing it would be an issue ... and probably was back in the 1970s when governments tried this sort of thing ... given that the majority of the population who ride bicycles are children.

Police are going to stop eight-year-olds and demand to know where their licences are? And then try to fine them?
Well, here in Australia, the "anti-terror" laws allow them to detain anyone over the age of 10 on suspicion of knowing something (note, the law says "knowing", not "plotting"). On the other hand, that kinda makes the "registration can be used to hassle suspicious people" argument redundant.
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Old 01-30-11, 11:01 PM   #25
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As a kid in San Dieo in the 40's and 50's - one took your bike to the local fire station to register and get some sort of sticker. It was supposedly mandatory, but I don't remember anyone actually doing it. I suppose they don't do that any more.
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