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such as Michigan, Oregon and New Jersey, where a bill that would have required cyclists to register like cars was withdrawn last week amid charges that it was an unnecessary intrusion by government.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.”
©2011 Community News Group
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