SURPRISE: I’m all in favor of bicycle licensing

bikepl8Let’s be clear what I’m talking about first. I’m not talking about a special license for people that would be required to operate a bicycle on the roads.  As as been stated over and over, most cyclists are actually already licensed drivers. What I’m talking about is a license (or registration) on the bicycle itself. Yup. I’m actually 100% in favor of this. This will probably surprise some of the motorists that like to bring this up as a requirement or them to feel like they need to share the road with me.

And I will undoubtedly piss off some of my fellow cyclists. But let me tell you why… Keep reading →

Reducing, or not even getting, tickets

Police on bicycle in San FranciscoBig changes afoot for traffic violations for cyclists.

In San Francisco, an ordinance co-sponsored by city supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar appears poised to pass. This ordinance will change stop sign violations by cyclists to the the lowest priority of the police department. Functionally, this will create a similar situation to the Idaho Stop law, but within the city boundaries only. In the state of California (unlike some other states) an actual change in the law would have to take place at the state level.

At this time,  6 of the 11 supervisors support the ordinance. Those currently in favor are Avalos, Breed, Campos, Kim, Mar and Wiener. According to KQED, supervisors Christensen, Cohen and Farrell are currently undecided

Supervisor Malia Cohen has not yet taken a position on the issue, said aide Yoyo Chan. “We are still continuing to hear from all perspectives,” Chan said in an email.

— “Majority of S.F. Supervisors Back ‘Idaho Stop’ Proposal for Cyclists” KQED.

That is the majority required to move the ordinance along to the mayor. However, support of Mayor Ed Lee is still unclear, and it would take a vote of 9 supervisors to override his veto should it occur.

This shift has come about in no small part due to a recent “stop in” demonstration on the famous Wiggle of San Francisco.

By Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg: Nancy Pelosi derivative work: Tktru (Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

At the state level, there was another change. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law creating a means to allow cyclists and pedestrians that have received a traffic citation to have their fines reduced by attending traffic school. These diversion programs would be set up and run by the local jurisdictions. This is similar to the system already in place for motor vehicle moving violations. As the BikingInLA blog points out, the provides more than just a reduction in fines. Instead, it creates a unique opportunity to educate. And there are certainly enough folks out there that could do with a little bit of that.

Ed Lee photo credit: By Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg: Nancy Pelosi derivative work: Tktru (Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cyclists always have the right of way?

Craig Kelly
Craig Kelly

Lawyers are a highly educated bunch – right? I mean, when they make a statement of law they know what they are talking about (goes the common wisdom). So boy was I excited when I read the following, written by a Nebraska Attorney:

Bicyclists always have the right of way […in Bellevue, Nebraska]

Really? Someone from Nebraska – tell me it’s true! Keep reading →

What is a “Culver” and how did they get a city?

Long time JustAnotherCyclist blogger friend BikingInLA posted a rather interesting tweet tonight:

The Culver City Chamber of Commerce might as well just tell bicyclists to take their business somewhere else. #bikLA
3/29/13 8:17 PM

So of course I checked out the link. While disappointed, I was unfortunately not surprised by the comments of Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rose. The crux of his argument is, basically, that cyclists are being granted rights without corresponding responsibilities. Here it is in his words: Keep reading →

Cell phones and cyclists in California

Ooops…  Looks like there were some inaccuracies in my original story.  I’ve taken the content offline while I do more research.

Commuter benefit before Governor

California SB 582 has passed and is now awaiting signature from the Governor Jerry Brown.  This bill allows regional planning authorities to require employers to offer commuter benefits – pre-tax deductions that can be use for public transportation or cycling costs incurred by bike commuting.  That’s right, you may soon have the opportunity to pay for those tires shredded by road debris with pre-tax funds.  Folks familiar with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for health care will be familiar with this concept.  These plans are, in essence, an FSA for commuters.  Jerry Brown has 12 days to either sign or veto.  You can get the details of the bill, including the full text, here.


Rider risks injury to beat bike lane ticket

Bike Lane Sign with Speed LimitBike lanes are both a blessing and a curse, and anybody that has done much commuting in urban environments has likely experienced both sides of that.  On the blessing side, studies have demonstrated that bike lanes do, in fact, encourage more folks to ride.  However, it may also create a false sense of security, and can even create greater danger in some situations.  Here in US cities, most bike lanes are right in the “door zone” along parallel parked cars, causing cyclists to need to dart into traffic unexpectedly should a car door get opened in front of them.  Couple that risk with the pretense of “Mandatory Use Laws” and the dark side of bike lanes shows itself.

Keep reading →

More Bicycle Licensing Madness

It is human nature – when you are aware and think of a particular topic, you tend to find things related to that topic in the world around you.  Even so, my eyes kinda bugged out of my head when I ran across an article about a New Jersey lawmaker Cleopatra Tucker wanted mandatory license plates for bicycles.

Umm…  wasn’t I just talking about this just the other day?  The motivation for this bill was identical to what I speculated about in my previous post:
Keep reading →

Mandatory Use Law

Bicycle lanes are something of a double-edged sword in certain circumstances.  Study after study has shown that the presence of bicycle lanes has a positive effect on overall cycling.  However, some will argue that traditional bike lane placement – especially on city streets – comes with its own problems.  Usually, bike lanes are placed in the exact spot where drivers would get out of their cars when parallel parking next to the curb – the “door zone.”  Bike lanes can also put cyclists in conflict with motorists that are making right hand turns at stop lights.

One of the less obvious conflicts, however, are laws that are often referred to as “Mandatory Use Laws.”  California has just such a law on the books in the form of CVC 21208:
Keep reading →

License to Ride

I’ve received some interesting responses – both directly and indirectly – about my recent post titled ‘Anti-bike Propaganda.’  In that article, I picked random comments made by folks on various websites, forums and news posts.  All of the quoted comments – by design – had a decidedly anti-cycling flavor.

I’ve now taken some time to ponder some of the responses, and I think I’ll start selectively addressing some of the statements I collected.  The first statement I’d like to examine deals with the issue of bicycle registration, or licensing

Share the road. Make insurance mandatory along with license plates on bicycles, they can cause accidents just as cars, and be used in crimes just like cars so the laws should be made “center of the road” so it is equal for both parties using the road. Simple.

Keep reading →