Friday, April 17, 2009

Bike registration revisited

A few weeks back I did a little ranting about bike and cyclist registration. Short version - I'm not a huge fan of either tagging bikes or requiring cyclist licensing, but can see some justification for both. After that post went up I had a short email exchange with a commenter, Bunny, on the value of putting police-readable identification on bikes and I have to admit that I had ignored a specific segment of the community.

Bunny's initial comment:
If you were in NYC and had heart stopping experiences with bikers going through red lights, against traffic and on the sidewalk you might think differently. They should have a license so they can be identified and fined for not following the rules of the road.
My response was a little too flip, basically a rehash of some of my earlier arguments which boil down to the idea that most of those cyclists wouldn't bother to register/tag their bikes. My dislike for licensing and registration schemes of most types stems from my dislike of governmental intrusion into my life, and in this case I looked at the issue only from my perspective. I am a vehicular cyclist and I follow the rules of the road. Because I follow existing rules I don't see why I should have to put up with additional restrictions/regulations. Thinking about it after reading Bunny's comments and emails brought something else to mind:
Cars have to have plates on them, so requiring the same from cyclists isn't adding restrictions, it's bringing cyclists into greater parity with motor vehicles.
This is something I need to think about a little more, but at the minimum I am willing to recognize that I was wrong about bike licensing, and in some jurisdictions (those with large populations of scofflaw cyclists) putting plates on bikes might be a legitimate way to discourage inappropriate behavior.

1 comment:

  1. Consider how aircraft are numbered and licensed. Ultralights do not need a registration number nor a pilot's certificate nor even a medical exam. Why? Because if I were to die mid-flight in an ultralight and crashed into your house, the house would be fine and I would be dead. Larger aircraft, and as they get larger and faster the requirements and restrictions increase, require more stringent licensing, medical exams, etc. Why? Because if you crash one of them into a building, you'll kill a lot of people.

    Consider matters of ability to chase down a rogue cyclist, visibility of the cyclist's face vs. visibility of the driver's face, etc.

    I don't consider "greater parity" to merit consideration. Except in Soviet Russia.