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San Jose to end bicycle licensing

Old 12-06-10, 02:33 PM
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San Jose to end bicycle licensing

San Jose to end bicycle licensing
By John Woolfolk
jwoolfolk@mercurynews.com
San Jose Mercury News
Posted:11/29/2010 12:00:00 AM PST

It was a ritual for generations of young bicyclists. Soon after plucking the bow off that gleaming new Schwinn, they'd pedal on over to the fire station to have it officially licensed, assuring a chance of recovering their bike if it were stolen.

No more. San Jose on Tuesday is about to join a growing list of cities that are abandoning bicycle licensing.

San Jose has required bike registration since 1974. But a city audit earlier this year found the mandate is seldom observed today. The program doesn't make enough in fees to cover the cost for busy cops and firefighters to create and maintain a useful license database.

"I think the last time I licensed my bike was third grade," said Councilman Sam Liccardo, an avid cyclist. "Given the fact that nobody seems to know much about the license requirement, it made sense to get rid of it."

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to repeal the bicycle license requirement from the municipal code, a move recommended in the February audit that said the provision should either be enforced or dropped.

The audit suggested the cost of the city's license fee wasn't the problem: A new, one-year license cost just $2 and a three-year renewal only $3.

But with an estimated 22,000 bicycles sold each year in San Jose, the city in the 2008-2009 budget year collected just $636 in bike license fees. The auditors surveyed two fire stations, where the licenses are distributed, and found that only nine licenses had been issued that year.

Neither station kept a locked cash box to store the fee receipts, the audit found. And although police were supposed to establish a license database where the information could be accessed to aid in recovering stolen bikes, they had not done so, telling the auditors they were too short-staffed.

Other cities have had similar experiences. Los Angeles abandoned its bicycle licensing program last year.
Full Story: https://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_1...nclick_check=1
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Old 12-06-10, 03:25 PM
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I bought a bicycle in San Jose in 1982 and again in 2010, this is the first I even knew they had a bicycle registration.

And although police were supposed to establish a license database where the information could be accessed to aid in recovering stolen bikes, they had not done so, telling the auditors they were too short-staffed.
And I am glad I saved my money.
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Old 12-06-10, 03:47 PM
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Centre county Pennsylvania (at the very least, Penn State University) has a mandatory bike licensing system, and it seems to be fairly well-adhered to. Registration is free.
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Old 12-07-10, 01:13 AM
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Good for San Jose! Since the CA registration program was implemented to help prevent bike theft/aid in recovery and CLETS/NCIC have a stolen bicycle database, it is sadly outdated and no longer needed.
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Old 12-07-10, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by degnaw
Centre county Pennsylvania (at the very least, Penn State University) has a mandatory bike licensing system, and it seems to be fairly well-adhered to. Registration is free.
it works well here. Not sure if there is any benefit to cyclists other than the fact that they round up bikes that aren't registered once per year and free up bike parking that is otherwise being used by abandoned bikes.
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Old 12-07-10, 10:27 AM
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It's almost completely ignored in the Salt Lake area, despite a law on the books requiring a dealer to register a bike when it's sold. There's only one place to get the sticker, and then the info goes into a file cabinet, never to again be seen.
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Old 12-07-10, 10:43 AM
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I'll repost what I wrote five years ago:

Here is a news story about Washington DC ending its mandatory bicycle registration program due to its negative effect on police-public relations. I think the report prepared by the DC Office of Police Complaints is particularly interesting. They find that (1) poorly communicated local bike regulations that are inconsistent with surrounding communities promote public ignorance of the law, (2) impounding offenders' bicycles is an inappropriately severe punishment for the offense, and (3) selective enforcement and pretextual stops create a public relations problem for the police.

-Steve Goodridge
_____________________________________________________________________

From League of American Bicyclists News:

DC Bike Registration to be Eliminated

The Washington, D.C. Police Complaints Board submitted a recommendation to the city's mayor and police chief recommending the elimination of DC's mandatory bike registration law. A number of complaints received by the Board suggest that MPD officers have enforced mandatory bicycle registration in Washington, DC, sporadically and improperly, raising questions about possible bias in these stops. The Board referenced the League's position paper in the report.

Link to the August 4th DC Office of Police Complaints Report:

(Tiny URL version of this link: https://tinyurl.com/bf8d3 )
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