Faster than a cop slamming a cyclist off his bike, Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Queens) has withdrawn legislation that would require every bicycle in New York State to have a license plate. One bill would have required "the annual inspection and registration of personal bicycles and provides for a license plate fee of twenty-five dollars for the first year and five dollars for every year thereafter." A second bill would have required every commercial cyclist in the state to carry identification and have insurance; their initial registration fee would be $50. Reached by phone, DenDekker's spokesman David Longshore explains the reversal:
We have heard from the public on this proposal, both pro and con, and opinion was pretty evenly divided. Based on what the public said we decided it would be a good thing to withdraw the bills and look at something more practical. Because we need to do something about bicycles. We need some kind of oversight. Municipalities are adding bike lanes, which is a great thing, but they're not improving they're enforcement, they're not patrolling bike lanes, they're not stopping cyclists who are running red lights.
The goal is making sure the public coexists together on public roads, which everybody pays for. So we have to listen to constituents who are concerned with reckless drivers, we have to listen to bicyclists concerned about reckless pedestrians, we have to do something to make sure everybody works together: bicycles, drivers, and pedestrians.
We are the world... In a statement, DenDekker says, "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." We asked Longshore if we could expect DenDekker to propose different legislation on bicycling enforcement in the future, and he said, "My guess would be yes. But that's up to the Assemblyman." So whether you think bicyclists are a venal menace who need a tough lesson in law and order, or environmentally-correct stewards of mother earth, stay tuned...