Just last week, citing senior citizens terrified of reckless bicycle riders with no accountability, Democratic Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker of Newark proposed bill A-3657, legislation that would require all cyclists—even children with training wheels—to register their bikes with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and attach license plates to the back.
The bill, which was hastily withdrawn today, called for bike registration to be $10 per bike, and would have required the bike owner to provide to the DMV: The year of manufacture, make, model, color, and unladen weight of the bicycle; the serial number; the name, street address, and age of the owner of the bicycle; the amount of New Jersey sales tax paid when the bicycle was purchased; the month, day and year of purchase; and any other information required by the chief administrator. Anyone caught riding an unregistered bicycle on public property would have faced a fine of up to $100 for each offense.
Cycling advocates were vocally opposed to the bill. Aja Hazelhoff, a bicycle advocate at Transportation Alternatives, told The Gothamist that the group is “adamantly opposed to any legislation that would require licensing or registration of bicycles. Not only would this be fiscally and operationally impossible to implement, but the deterrent effect it would have on cycling would be enormous. We already have every law we need to make cycling safe in NYC, and what’s needed is simply better, more targeted enforcement of these pre-existing laws.”
“That’s an outrage, for sure,” Paige Hiemier, vice-president of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, told www.nj.com. “Basically, it’s outrageous for a number of reasons, and most of them are: Who is the legislation aimed at? Who’s going to administer it? How are they going to pay for it? Who’s going to stop the bicyclists and check their registration?”
But after much media coverage and public outcry, Assemblywoman Tucker changed her mind.
“My intention was never to impose a burden or additional costs,” Tucker said in a statement. “My goal was to at least begin a discussion of how best to protect elderly pedestrians. No idea is perfect, but protecting elderly pedestrians deserves attention.”