Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Licensing bicyclists? Not yet.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the city's government has come up with a money-making scheme to license bicyclists.

In general, I'm not a big fan of licensing bikes. It's not because I'm a biker myself and don't want to give the government any more of my money. It's because the infrastructure is not set up to permit bikers to get from here to there in a safe, easy, reasonable manner.

A biker who strictly follows the rules of the road to the letter 100 percent of the time will either not get anywhere or will get killed or maimed. As someone who averages 1500-2000 miles a year on such devices, I can tell you this is an indisputable fact.

A few examples...

Turning left legally requires bikers to get into the same turning lane as motor vehicles. In many places, particularly soulless suburbia, this means taking your life in your own hand. If you live in this area, try turning left from Route 9 (going north) in Queensbury on to Aviation Road using the legally correct lane. Make sure you have a friend nearby to call 9-1-1.

Another good example is stoplights. Many of them will not turn green if only a bicycle is waiting because its sensors do not recognize the bike, thus leaving the biker with no legal option.

Governments should not 'pull a Cuomo' on this one. If they insist on this money grab, upgrade the infrastructure first. Make it so bikers can follow the law safely and efficiently before enacting such a scheme.

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