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.
That, anyway, is the basic outline of a bill (A3657) introduced by Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) who said she proposed it after several senior citizens in Belleville and Bloomfield called her to complain about kids on bikes.
“They had been knocked down, knocked over and they had no way to register a complaint. They couldn’t identify the person,” said Tucker.
Efforts to license bicycles almost always seem to stem from a belief that cyclists are anonymous, and thus unaccountable for their actions. However, bicycle licensing doesn’t really address the issue. For one thing, bikes are much less expensive than cars, and thus are more likely to be loaned, borrowed, or sold at garage sales for $15 bucks. How do you account for every change of ownership? If you are already frustrated with crowded DMV offices now – can you imagine this additional overhead? And just like a car, the license plate tells you who owns the bicycle, not who may have been riding it at the time when an infraction occurred.
Luckily cooler heads prevailed, and the legislation was withdrawn. However, this continues to come up again and again.