09 December 2008

Bike Licences Are Stupid

Photo by 'fixed gear' on Flickr.

So the bicycle licence beast raises it's ugly head again. This time in Seattle. Sure, it's only an opinion piece from a man who doesn't look like he's been on a bicycle since the days the plates above were valid, but still.

Copenhagenize is quite clear on bike licences. They are one of the most ridiculous inventions in the history of transport. "Bikes should pay" is a weak argument from the Automotive Defence League.

We've posted about this before in a rebuttal aimed at anyone who mumbles 'bike licences'. Here's the link. Use it freely.

- Bicycle licences are a logistical nightmare that almost always end up in the red. That's why they've been dropped all over the world. They're simply not cost-effective.

More cyclists on the streets and on the new infrastructure are a bonus for any city:

- More cyclists means less wear and tear on the roads which means less roadworks and fewer delays for motorists. Money saved.
- More cyclists means lower health care costs and fewer lost production days because of employee illness. Good for the economy.
- More cyclists means a healthier workforce. More money for the economy.
- Cyclists live longer - up to nine years longer - good for the economy.
- More cyclists means less pollution. Good for public health and quality of life. Higher quality of life means a more attractive city and increased property values.
- More cyclists means fewer people in cars - and people in cars are victims of a higher level of pollution than those cycling next to them.
- An urban freeway costs about 2500 times more per mile than an urban cycleway according to John Button's How to Be Green, in the Australian Edition published by Random Century Hutchinson Australia Pty Ltd. See the 28 reasons to ride a bicycle for more facts.
- Cyclists should be given bonuses, like in many countries, because they choose to leave the car at home.

Look at the above points. Do the maths. A city can profit from having more cyclists. Building bike lanes is a requirement, a given.

STOP THE PRESSES... I just recieved a great link from Paul. Somebody DID the maths, quite recently.

Scotland's economy could benefit by up to £4 billion each year if we cycled as much as people in parts of continental Europe, a report said. Here's the link to the rest of the article.


melancholic optimist said...

It looks like we may have just missed a bike tax on new bike purchases in Oregon... here's hoping we continue to manage to dodge both of those bullets (bike tax and licenses).

The Jolly Crank said...

Minneapolis recently stopped the long standing requirement for bike licenses. Before that, the city had billed the practice as more of a registration process that increased the chance of recovering a stolen bike (raising your chances from 'none' to incredibly 'slim.') I have never actually met anyone that did register their bikes when it was the law (or a cop that ever wasted his time looking at my bike for a sticker!)
I do think the old badges look kind of cool though.

Todd Scott said...

Detroit had a bicycle license requirement from perhaps the 1930s. It was forgotten until this year when police threatened to write tickets. We had the licensing requirement removed from the books because it was a deterrent to biking.

spiderleggreen said...

From reading the comments of the article, it looks like the old codger is taking a beating. Serves him right for putting out such a week argument, loaded with cheapshots. But maybe his target audience doesn't spend much time online. Can't get em away from Faux News, I bet.

Kevin Love said...

When I was a child and teenager, I spent twelve years of my life in the town of Middleton, Wisconsin in the USA. There was a licensing requirement, and I still have the orange license plate somewhere.

Out of curiosity, I surfed into the municipal web site and discovered that they still have a mandatory registration requirement - complete with $2 fee. This is the same fee as when I lived there in the 1960's.

Strange. Also check out their curfew for teenagers at:


Jamie229 said...

I used to have a license plate on my tourer bike when I was a kiddie in Belgium. I can't remember what had to be paid, but the plate was quite cool.
I didn't have one on my BMX, but the police never caught up with me on that one...

Having lived and cycled in Scotland I can confirm the potential health improvements from increased cycling - the increased exercise the cabbies will get from swerving to hit more targets will imrove their fitness dramatically, and the extra chances to shout abuse will lower their tension and blood pressure.
Gawd bless 'em.

David Hembrow said...

It's another example of cycling being completely misunderstood by those "in charge". Of cycling being treated as a problem rather than as a solution to a problem.

Tom said...

I don't know why they want to stop with bikes. I think the cash strapped governments of the Pacific Northwest should impose a "shoe tax" to pay for all the sidewalks (pavements)that parallel most city streets. Pedestrians have been a free rider (walker) for too long.

rubén said...

What about bike registers to avoid or deter from stealing? Are those a good idea? I'm pro voluntary ones but I hear people saying they should be mandatory to achieve any success.