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License ‘em! Sloper wants to put plates on bikes

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Cyclists will be required to register their rides like their gas-guzzling counterparts under a controversial scheme trumpeted last week by a Park Slope activist.

Nica Lalli, a writer and member of Community Board 6, said her plan makes cyclists as accountable as motorists — and makes it a cinch for cops to ticket two-wheeled scofflaws.

“Making it easier to give people tickets with bikes will be good revenue for the city,” said Lalli, who admitted she is not a “bike person,” but that she holds no prejudice against cyclists — including her husband.

“I have to register my dog, my car, I think people should have to register their bicycles, too,” she reasoned. “It’s still a vehicle in a city with lots of rules that you have to follow to be a part of civil society.”

The idea of bicycle registration is not a novel one, and has been debated in places such as Michigan, Oregon and New Jersey, where a bill that would have required cyclists to register like cars was withdrawn last week amid charges that it was an unnecessary intrusion by government.

Undeterred, Lalli said she’s hopeful the board’s Transportation Committee will weigh the matter soon, producing a resolution that could shape a nascent citywide debate.

“There’s nothing like the threat of an easy ticket to make you adhere to the rules of the road,” she said.

Cyclists, already steamed after our explosive report that cops are planning a crackdown on cyclists, targeting renegade riders who flout traffic laws, were revolted by the registration drive.

“It certainly brings us closer to an Orwellian state,” said Boerum Hill resident and avid cyclist Louie Fleck. “It just seems that it is targeting a certain class of individual.”

And it defeats the entire philosophy of cycling.

“The whole idea of riding a bicycle is that it’s a simpler, more effective and efficient mode of transporta­tion,” said cyclist Sholom Brody of Sheepshead Bay. “If you are regulating it, you are making it more difficult to do.”

And the measure is a waste of police resources, critics charged.

“The police ought to spend their time and their energy on the biggest source of potential and actual problems, and that is motorist driving and potentially killing many people with their big machines,” said cyclist Bill Harris, who said he also owns three cars.

The resolution could make Lalli the most-hated woman in Park Slope, but she certainly has a supporter in

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R–Queens), who said last week that he’ll propose a law that would compel cyclists over 18-years-old to affix identification tags on their bicycles for a small fee, a move he said promoted safety in an increasingly unsafe urban environment. The bill has not been officially drafted or released yet.

“There seems to be a double standard when it comes to enforcing traffic laws,” he told the Post. “Bicycles are involved in accidents, unfortunately, across this city.”

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Reader Feedback

Jabir ibn Hayyan from Park Slope says:
While we're at it, we should impose mandatory registration on feet as well.

This would make it a cinch for cops to ticket two-footed scofflaws, and making it it easier to ticket people with feet will be a good source of revenue for the city.

There are a lot of rules you have to follow as a pedestrian in this city. And pedestrians are clearly out of control, as anyone can see.
Jan. 19, 2011, 12:50 am
Resident from PPW says:
A great idea.
Jan. 19, 2011, 8:41 am
Mike says:
This is totally idiotic. The NYPD has shown in the last few weeks that they have absolutely no problem giving tickets to bikes when they get motivated to do so. So what's the point of extremely large and un-aerodynamic license plates? There's no place to mount a plate on a bike.

Other cities that used to have bike licensing have recently abandoned it. Los Angeles did so last year. Why? Because it doesn't work.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:15 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
So let me get this right - the idea behind the plate is as follows:

An accident (or near-accident) occurs with a rider on a bicycle that has a plate. The rider decides to bike away, rather than remaining at the scene. Someone scopes the license plate, writes it down, and then calls the cops.

And then what? Do people seriously expect the NYPD to begin to care? Pedestrians get *killed* by cars on a near-daily basis, and drivers never face anything more than minor traffic offenses.

What's the point of this? It seems to me like a complete waste of time, and money, and a new tax waiting to happen.

Doesn't even begin to deal with the issues of out-of-town bicyclists, liability, etc.

How about we get the NYPD to *effectively* enforce the laws that are already on the books, which they seem to be completely incapable of doing.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:15 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
Also note that in your photo, there's now no longer a place to mount a tail-light, which is required by law.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:16 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
When was the last time you called 911 on a car that ran a red light?
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:17 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
You want to license cyclists? Here is how you do it.

First, provide mandatory street riding training in middle school, providing simple bikes to those who don't have them.

Five years after the system has been running at full capacity, you make it a legal requirement that those born after a certain date (who benefitted from the training availability) have licenses to ride on the street.

And 15 years after that, you make it manditory for everyone to have those licenses.

That's about how it worked for driver's licenses.

Of course, this would encourage MORE people to bicycle for transportation, where the idea of the various licensing proposals now being circulated is keep new cyclists off the streets.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:32 am
Lex from Park Slope says:
It's about time. And while we're at it, how about a mandatory helmet law?
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:33 am
Hopper from Los S-S says:
Cats & Pigeons are TOTALLY unregulated! This is a travesty; we need a comprehensive registration system to license & potentially tax everything that moves.

Even the dreaded "Western European Socialist" countries don't register bicycles
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:41 am
lou from park slope says:
I ride my bike to work everyday. There are times that I am in the wrong on traffic, but everyday I see pedestrians a few feet off the curb closing the intersection, jay-walking right in front of me, and walking into traffic while emailing/texting. You can not license and plate bikes and not have any way to enforce the bigger problem of errant pedestrians. Pedestrians almost always have the right away over cyclists and drivers, but not when they are breaking local traffic laws.

The other thing is does my 3 year old need a license? She's is less safe than most cyclists.
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:20 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Great idea, Lex. Motor vehicle occupants suffer 70% of traumatic brain injuries. This is a problem that could be greatly improved by requiring helmets.
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:25 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I could be like all my neighbors's cars and put out-of-state plates on my bike!
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:35 am
Spin Guru from Bed-Sty says:
Stupid idea because the Police don't know bike or motor vehicle laws!
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:35 am
Lex from Park Slope says:
@boof

So you'd be in favor of repealing the law that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets?

How about the law that requires children on bikes to wear helmets?
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:46 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Car accidents killed over 260 people last year, half of them pedestrians in crosswalks with the right of way. Thousands more were injured in car accidents. As far as I know, most -- although not all -- of the drivers were licensed.

There is, on average, one pedestrian killed by a cyclist each year. The number has remained stagnant even though cycling has gone up in the last ten years.

The NYPD does not care about pedestrians. Period.
Jan. 19, 2011, 11:40 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Nica Lalli apparently doesn't care about pedestrians either. How does one get removed from a community board?
Jan. 19, 2011, 11:43 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Lex, are you saying you don't care about motor vehicle occupants?
Jan. 19, 2011, 12:08 pm
Marc from Kensington says:
The solution for both raising revenues and keeping track of whose on the streets is for the gov't to privatize all roads and tolls be charged by their new owner-operators on all vehicles and pedestrians based on distance/time/passenger-load. All users would have to register their identifies in accounts, of course, with the owner/operators of the roads they want to use, and for safety's sake would be subject to background checks and body scans when entering and/or departing each toll zone. Tolls would be automatically deducted from citizen's One Central Security Number, like all other fees society-wide; income would be paid into the OCS account by direct deposit and taxes automatically deducted, included those imposed by the Combined Oil Companies for general access to petroleum-based products, those taxes levied on a sliding scale rising the less one can demonstrate direct payment for use of said products, because if you're not buying gas someone else is in your stead and we all stand to benefit from such energy consumption in the long run . . .
Jan. 19, 2011, 12:46 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
This woman should think a bit more before she offers quotes to the paper, especially if she purports to represent her community.

Forget about the car licensing comparison for a sec...

The reason she has to license her dog is so that it can be returned to her if it runs away. The NYPD makes no such effort to return lost or stolen bikes to their owners, nor would I necessarily want them to devote scare money and manpower to do so.

If I have to license my bike, however, and pay for the privilege, you better believe I will want a little more help from the city if my bike is stolen.

Does Lalli think the city can afford this?
Jan. 19, 2011, 2:56 pm
Mel from Fort Greene says:
Nica "who's got a cute little license plate" Lalli needs to be popped out of her Brownstoner bubble and actually try commuting to the city on a bike sometime. Apart from creating a chilling effect, what would be the value here? Seriously, every effort should be made to encourage cycling as an alternative mode of transport for the good of NYC and for the good of the planet. Get that officious nihilist off the board!
Jan. 19, 2011, 3:14 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Its for the Children!
Jan. 19, 2011, 3:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think this will be a good idea. When a cyclist does injure someone, they usually have the tendency to leave the scene of an accident, and nobody can ever catch them. Licensing is the only to track them down and possibly arrest them. If it works so well for tracking down drivers that do this, it will work the same with cyclists. It's about time they started paying their dues as well. I even find it an irony that they claim that we drivers shouldn't have a free ride on the road, but they cry foul when they have to.
Jan. 19, 2011, 7:41 pm
freeflycam from Carroll Gardens says:
Who's really the brain child behind this?! Very lame idea! The city doesn't need more refenue. What the city needs is better people who know how to balance a budget with responsible spending. Get real people!!
Jan. 20, 2011, 7:23 am
Jolie from Carroll Gardens says:
Does not sound like many of you have been hit and run over by a bicyclist...I was knocked over and left unconscious in the middle of Court Street by someone going the wrong way....thank God for the pedestrians who stopped the cars about to run over me. Something needs to change.
Jan. 20, 2011, 11 pm
Chris from Boerum Hill says:
Some streets in every neighborhood should be taken away from motor vehicle traffic and given to bicyclists and pedestrians only.
Jan. 21, 2011, 12:30 am
Aaron says:
Interesting idea, just unenforceable. Cops won't stop bike riders missing plates, nor should their time be wasted. But it would generate revenue, since I do see cops stop their cars, block traffic, and write parking tickets. We license our cars and pay registration and inspection fees. Bicyclists pay nothing to use the same roads and have bike lanes built for them. If we want more bike lanes, then this may be a way to pay for them and not put the cost directly to the city. I would register my bike the same as I had to my car.
Jan. 21, 2011, 1:33 pm
joe from wb says:
not gonna happen. just a lot of fuss because the cops are temporarily cracking down on bikers. Temporary is the key word as they really don't care and probably hate ticketing bikers but are forced to do so every once in a great while to show who's the enforcer.
Jan. 21, 2011, 3:31 pm
Charlie Libin from (not a yuppie) hard working union member says:
In June 2005 my new next door neighbor newlywed pro-bono lawyer Liz Padilla was killed on 5th Ave as she swerved her bike into traffic to avoid a trucker's door swinging open. She was riding within the "suggested" bike lane. Rather than waste efforts that discourage bikers, let's be bold and promote 24/7 bike-only avenues. The bike lane along PPW has substantially decreased all types of accidents. I know the site of a rogue bike messenger terrifies Marty Markowitz and his constituents. Licensing is not the solution. Separating motor vehicles from bikes is. It is also good for the environment and a great way to stay healthy Marty! Fuggedabout it! A no-brainer.
Jan. 23, 2011, 9:21 am
Reedy from Prospect Heights says:
This lady is insane and needs to have her thoughts edited. As a cyclist in this city I believe that anyone who can ride a bike should. This will discourage the growing number of cyclists in the city. Also, how will they enforce this......I know I can certainly outrun the cops on my rig. And what happens when someone from out of town wants to ride a bike. Also this would put all bike rental places out of business. I can't write any more.....getting angry. Gonna go ride my bike w/o a license.
Jan. 24, 2011, 7:23 pm
richie from parsklope says:
I can't even imagine a cop writing a bike ticket to a 6 yrd old riding a bike without a plate.
Jan. 25, 2011, 3:15 pm
Steves Mom from Park Slope says:
I want Marc from Kensington taxed everytime he opens his mouth!
Jan. 26, 2011, 3:22 am
Steves Mom from Park Slope says:
Steves giving orders again!!
Jan. 26, 2011, 3:23 am
Davidg from Kensington says:
All you need to think that this is a GREAT idea is to have some a$$hole biker run you down by NOT observing the lights or signs. Heaven for-fend you almost hit one of these poor benighted souls with your car when THEY, sharing the same streets as you choose NOT to observe the same street laws.
Jan. 30, 2011, 8:10 am
Davidg from Kensington says:
I'd just like to know, how many bicyclists stop at STOP SIGNS, or at lights even when there is NO ONE else crossing? How many signal? .. and if you DON'T do these things.. WHY should you be respected in the same way as any other vehicle?

This may sound stupid to some, but if cars and bicycles share the road, they should share the responsibilities that go with being there.
Jan. 30, 2011, 8:15 am
Brian from Chicago says:
I'd just like to know, I'd just like to know, how many *drivers* stop at STOP SIGNS, or at lights even when there is NO ONE else crossing? How many signal? .. and if you DON'T do these things.. WHY should you be respected in the same way as *bicycles*?

This is nothing more than reactionary legislation designed to keep new cyclists from taking to the streets. You might as well make EVERYone walk around their SS# emblazoned on their chest. Cars have license #s because they are 2,000 lbs of speeding lethality, yet even then, drivers who kill pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers on a daily basis get nothing more than a misdemeanor traffic ticket. Where is the hysteria?

Anyone who supports this law while not caring about the daily carnage from drivers and cars is a sociopath.

And speaking of helmet laws, they are just a way to pass blame and liability onto the cyclist for having the temerity for getting hit by a vehicle.
Feb. 1, 2011, 11:55 am
JonnyM from Williamsburg says:
So what I'm reading hear is that it is OK to KILL cyclists because they should not be on the roads and get in the way of cars.

I was just in Boston, bike lanes everywhere, I did not see half the issues you see here. NYC is extremely congested by every means of transportation available. Whether pedestrian, driver, cyclist or skateboarder people need to be aware of their surroundings. And not being a-hole would help as well.
Oct. 13, 2011, 2:43 pm
Etan from Park Slope. says:
Bicycle licensure would benefit everyone, cyclists included.
(1) Properly implemented, licensure would make it difficult to resell stolen bicycles and thus decrease the frequency of thefts.
(2) Licensure would make cyclists aware of the need to treat traffic laws seriously, increase compliance, and decrease conflict with drivers and pedestrians.
(3) License fees could be used to fund improvement and expansion of bicycle lanes, as well as provide more safety education.
Cyclists tend to see licensure and traffic laws as an unnecessary imposition by motorists. However, as with seat belt and hands-free cell phone rules, licensure will increase cyclist's safety. There will no longer be an excuse for riding the wrong way in a bike lane, without lights in the dark, while listening to music with earbuds.
If Transportation Alternatives wants government and motorists to take cyclists use of roads seriously, they ought to rethink their position. Licensure adds to the legitimacy of cyclists rights, as well as their responsibilities.
July 1, 2012, 2:56 pm

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