Cyclists License?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by ndbiker, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. ndbiker

    ndbiker New Member

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    I have been a rider for about three years now and commuting for about 6 months. Here in Ohio bike commuting is not a major form of transportation but like elsewhere as fuel cost hover around $4/ gallon more people are giving it a go. While there are traffic laws on the books which affect cyclists there is no means of insuring cyclist know what those laws are. I see few cyclists signal, many do not stop at stop signs (fewer do not stop at lights) and in general many seem ignorant of just what is expected of them. I was wondering what the opinion of the commuters on this forum would be to having states issue a cycling license for those riders who would be riding on main thoroughfares. It would not be required for those riders on residential streets or on multi use paths. It would mean that the riders you see on the road understand the laws concerning cycling, signaling, safety, basic maintenance etc. The modest fee to get the license would mean the old argument "cyclist don't help pay for the roads so they shouldn't be allowed to use them would not be valid anymore and may insure a safer riding experience. I think it would also give us validity on the roadways (if you have a license its hard to argue you shouldn't be on the road). The downside is the government being involved in another aspect of your life and of course the cost of the license. I just wanted some opinion.
     
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  2. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    I am a serious bike rider, averaging about 5,000 miles a year. I ride for recreation, exercise and commuting. My wife and I went to a single auto three years ago.

    I would be against the license. What are you going to do about chidren who ride? What if the child on the way the the local store is on one of the main roads? Seems to me the problem is mainly with teens and young adults, who seem to flaunt the rules just because we have them. Our city has a law that you have to wear a helmut, but it appears about 20% don't wear one, and the law breakers are teens and young adults mostly. These are the same ones who ignore traffic signals, use the sidewalk, and move quickly between the sidewalk & road.

    What might work is a tax on bike tires. That way they get money for the roads and infrastructure. But note: I got a real problem if they use the money for auto improvements to roads. With the shortage of money on roads from the auto usage, it would be a real big temptation to use bike money on auto road improvements justifing it by saying bikes might use it.

    Bottom line is that we have created a system where the autos/trucks don't pay for the total cost of infrastructure. As a tax payer, I contribute a lot to auto road usage, but now require that a portion be used to improve streets for bike usage.
     
  3. Sikhandar

    Sikhandar New Member

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    $4/gallon? it means 0.708 €/L.....waaaaaaaaaaaargh in Italy you're good if you find a pump at less than 1.450 €/L...............!!!!!! (In fact bike commuting is very diffused, it became very popular since the '50s)

    My (european) opinion is: you pay a lot of taxes to the State -> you can use the State properties as much as you want with every bicycle / tricycle / car / motorcycle / whatever (as long as you can drive it and as long as you aren't dangerous for you and the other people!). Riding a bike is very common in Italy and we are taught to drive in the traffic since we are very young, so most people can drive the bike correctly and can respect signals... accidents occur, of course, but they're quite rare if compared (for instance) to motorcycle accidents, in which the too-high speed causes the problems :(.

    I think that a driving license for a cyclist is only an uneuseful complication.
     
  4. ndbiker

    ndbiker New Member

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    What prompted this question was an article in Newsweek concerning an increase in cyclist/vehicle confrontations in Portland OR http://www.newsweek.com/id/149224. When there were fewer cyclists on the roads I think most drivers just saw us as an occasional nuisance. As the number of riders increases I can see drivers calling for cyclist to be restricted from roadways. If we have a mechanism to validate our use of the roadways then we have less likelyhood of having our use restricted. I understand your concerns about licensing, I actually share them. Thanks for your opinion.
     
  5. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    Motorist are just going to have to understand that they will have to share the road, with both Pedestrians and Cyclists. Roads need to be designed with bicycle usage in mind too. I can not believe they put in stoplights that stay 100% red until a car arrives at the intersection. That forces the cyclist to take an illegal action (running a red light), that is just wrong. Designing roads just to more the cars faster too is just wrong, that makes the cycling less safe.

    I already have to modify my routes to adapt to autos (just try to bike commute on the shortest route). It is now time for the autos to "share the road." They think they paid for them, but large part of that road money comes from other taxes.

    Licensing bike users is not going to solve any problems, but will just provide another government involvement in our lives. Remember, this is the same government that told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!
     
  6. cdat

    cdat New Member

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    I think Buckybux brought up a lot of good points. A license is a nice thought but you could not enforce it. With all the other things going on, cops wouldn't look twice at a cyclist. In fact, I have been involved in accidents and incidents with cars that they didn't want to even respond to and considered it a waste of time. Checking or enforcing a license isn't going to happen. I wouldn't want to pay money for no reason at all and that is what I think will happen. Look at how many people operate cars without a liscense- some for years at a time without getting caught.
    I don't know what the answer is. Education doesn't seem to work, people just don't seem to care. Kids pay to go to safe driving classes and it is all out the door the minute they get in a car with their friends. People of all ages in a car push cyclists around every chance they get and I just stay off main routes as much as possible. I stick up for my rights and hold my lane as much as possible but a live chicken is better than a dead hero sometimes.
     
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