Sponsor withdraws New York State bike licensing bill

Legislation would have required registration fee and bike inspection

Attempts to introduce legislation in New York State that proposed bicycle registration and licensing have been withdrawn by the bill’s sponsor in the State Assembly.

The bill would have required bicycles to sport license plates and riders to pay a US$25 initial registration fee, followed by $5 annually fee for the license.

State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Queens) introduced the legislation in the State Assembly. It would have also required riders to have their bikes inspected. A second proposed bill would have, if passed into law, required every commercial cyclist in the state to carry identification and have insurance, with an initial fee of $50.

DenDekker had previously said the bill wasn’t just about raising money, though, it would have brought the state up as much as US$1,875,000 in the first year, but rather he said it was to “ensure personal protection for cases such as bicycle theft or bicycle accidents.”

He has since withdrawn the bill. “I introduced this bill in response to numerous complaints from my constituents regarding bicyclists who were not following local and state laws, and causing dangerous conditions for pedestrians and motorists alike,” he said. “In this way, the original intent of this bill was to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety through increased accountability, however, we will now explore future options to achieve stricter enforcement of the bicycle regulations.”

Cycle groups maintain that DenDekker was targeting the masses in response to the few who break the law.

“Such legislation would create bureaucracy but do nothing to wrangle in scofflaw cyclists,” says Ellen Jaffe, president of the New York Cycle Club. “It would burden the vast majority of bike owners with additional expense and an unworkable system for no apparent gain at a time when we should be encouraging this healthy, energy efficient mode of transport and recreation.”

This is not the only recent proposed legislation aimed at those on two wheels using pedal power, last month New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) suggested that all cyclists in NYC get license and register their bikes. That proposed legislation was also withdrawn.

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