An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

By the pricking of my thumb...

...something wicked this way comes.

Well, it's not coming. Yet. But it could.

Last year, on the last day of the Georgia state legislative session, HB 689 was introduced.

This is nothing more than an anti-cycling rewrite of the licensing and traffic code.

Now this isn't the first time that licensing of bicycles has been proposed, and I'm not really opposed to the idea. It might help deter bike theft, and in some kind of dream world might even help with theft recovery.

In a truly dream-induced state of lunacy, it might even tilt motorists to a feeling of one-ness with cyclists, or at least apathy rather than outright hostility.

Yeah, as if.

Anyway, as I said, I'm not opposed to registering and licensing bikes. But... As it's written, is it anything more than a state-sponsored money-grab? An annual license fee, along with transfer fees when a bike is sold or even given away?

In Washington, when a used motor vehicle is sold, the state gets to charge SALES TAX on the PRIVATE sale! And how do they do this? Well, you have to transfer the title. They'll hold it until the tax is paid. And what if the vehicle is GIVEN away? They'll charge the tax based on the Kelly Blue Book value instead of the sales price. They will even check the actual sales price against Blue Book, and if it's too far out of line, guess what -- KBB value regardless.

You think Georgia would pass up something like that?

Now let's get to the real anti-bike portion of this legislative proposal. Check out page 6.

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast ride single file except on bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when a special event permit issued by a local governing authority permits riding more than two abreast single file. Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride no more than four riders per single file line, and at least four feet shall separate each bicycle. At least 50 feet shall be maintained between each line of four riders at all times
So, did you get that? Pacelines? Things of the past. Can't draft, and if you do, you can't drop back from the front (you'd me more than single file), and can't have more than 4 per line. So much for the centuries and charity rides, unless they're all staged on bike-only roads, or pay yet another fee for a special permit.

Here's another gem on the same page.
(e) When a roadway is part of the state highway system, the Department of Transportation may restrict persons from riding bicycles on the roadway or designate certain times when bicycle riding is permissible. When a roadway is part of a local road system, a local governing authority may restrict persons from riding bicycles on the roadway or designate certain times when bicycle riding is permissible.

Ever read the comments on any cycling-related accident article online? They all include comments to the effect that bikes shouldn't be on "their" roads, and if they get hit, they deserve it. If faced with complaints from constituents, what do you think local politicians are going to do? Yep, close the local roads to cycling. Open times? Sure. And I've got a bridge to sell, cheap.

It amounts to nothing more than open-season on cycling rights.

The second amendment was written all about keeping government from over-running the people. Our government is supposed to be by the people and for the people. Our rights as cyclists are being threatened constantly because we ride on "their" roads.

Do I think this legislation will pass? Not really. But the fact that it was even proposed troubles me. It's one more high-lob against bikes, and if it takes a foothold anywhere, I can see other states adopting similar anti-bike revisions just due to the money-grab aspect. 

We need to be vigilant.

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