A bill has been introduced to city council that would require all cyclists sixteen and older to register their bicycles with the city. The city would then issue some sort of license plate. The punishment for not having said plate would be extreme, up to a $300 fine and/or up to 15 days in jail! Of course, the offending bike would be impounded as well.

This bill seems to have little value for the public and would only serve to make cycling in the city more difficult. The city has made a lot of progress in the last several years towards being more bike friendly. Ridership is up, why introduce legislation to make it more difficult to ride? The city should actively encourage more people to use bicycles. Transportation Alternatives points out that the more bicycles there are on road the safer it is to ride. We shouldn’t be passing laws that will reduce the number of riders thereby decreasing rider safety. Enforcement of this ridiculous law would also pose problems. The police have better things to do than to bust bicycles with missing license plates. Plus, they seem more than happy to restrict their bicycle harassment to the last Friday of the month anyway.

It is interesting to note that one of the bill’s sponsors, Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano from the Bronx, does not seem to be an advocate for bicyclists. In 2002, she opposed some bike lanes in the Bronx. Earlier this year, she successfully lobbied to get parking tickets voided for automobiles that were partially obstructing bike lanes. She is also the chair of the housing and buildings committee that is sitting on a bill that would require bicycle access to buildings.

If you are opposed to this bill, please let someone know about it. You can send a fax to Madeline Provenzano directly from the Transportation Alternatives website. You could also send a message to your local council member letting them know how you feel. If you don’t how to reach your council member, you can get City Council information on the New York City website.

via Matt Law

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