Regarding Bicycles

This is part GQ but its probably better suited to Great debates forum, since I don’t really expect much of a factual ansewer.

So if Bikes were plated , registered and insured , would bike ridership decline ?

Myself I can’t really see it happening , we all ready do this to everything from a vespa to a semi tractor, and yet at least one poster seems to think its a waste of time and cannot see why anyone would want the idea even to be discussed , let alone implemented.

Pit thread on bikes

Opinions please


Yes. Far too many people are only intermittent cyclists and if they knew they risked ticketing because they haven’t a current registration they will say, “Screw it!” and hop in the car. Bicycling is a positive activity, giving the rider exercise while using remarkably few resources, and the gummint should encourage it by removing any obstacles.

What advantage do you see to registration besides the ability for a cop to ask a pedestrian run down by a cyclist, “Did you get his licence number?” If they are to scale with the vehicle the plates are likely to be small and hard to read and you know how often witnesses miss the foot-wide licence plates on cars. In addition, in that thread people brought citations that showed bike-pedestrian accidents are not nearly as common as some people believe. In other words, registration is a poor solution to an uncommon problem and, therefore, a silly waste of public resources.

Please explain what problem is solved by licencing bicycles. Requiring training and licencing of riders is another matter but that may not be workable either.

At least on the college campus I used to attend, bicycle registration existed for the very purpose of damping down bike ownership–there were far too many for the bike racks provided, and the sidewalks were poorly designed for bicycles (an acceptable oversight considering the main part of campus dates from the 1850s-1860s) and students late to class on bikes posed a real threat to pedestrians in the same sidewalks on a campus of tens of thousands of students.

As the paths are upgraded and bikeways added, the number of permitted bike registrations goes up and the fees decrease–and the fees do tend to go directly to bike path consrtuction, upgrading and maintenance.

I think the best arguement for a per capita bike tax or registration or whatever would be “fees collected go towards improving the bicycle-only portions of the transportation infrastructure”.

If they were registered, it would go a ways towards putting bike thieves out of work. For instance, if whoever stole my bike last week was stopped and required to show registration, it would become clear that the bike is actually MINE and the fucker would be thrown to the dogs like s/he deserves. (Not that I’m bitter. :()

But so would the opposite strategy of a large fleet of communally-owned bikes.

Overall I agree that bike registration/licensing would definitely decrease ridership. I don’t drive because I don’t have a license. I can’t see how that would be different with bikes. Part of the joy of cycling is that it’s so accessible: anyone can do it, even if you won’t/can’t buy one, there’s usually someone you know with a spare one you can borrow. It would definitely discourage casual cyclists who wouldn’t want to go through whatever process is required to get registered, just to go for a spin along the lakeshore on a sunny day.

As a regular bike commuter I am of two minds on the subject of whether it would be a good thing or not.

One mind says that people should be encouraged to cycle by all means necessary: get cars off the road, get people fit, etc etc.

The other mind regularly gets pissed off at the Sunday-driver-cyclists who ride dangerously (particularly on Harbord St. during rush hour, why do they congregate there?), thereby (a) putting me and everyone else in danger, and (b) giving me and other safe cyclists a bad rep. If you needed a license to bike, this problem would be solved.

I’m not sure that bike ridership would decline that much, but I can guarantee that criminal activity involving bicycles would skyrocket.