Bikelash in the SFV: Neighborhood Council Considers Asking for Bike Licensing

Even in the wake of another tremendously successful CicLAvia, there are still signs of a Bikelash growing in some quarters against progressive transportation design that attempts to make streets safer and efficient for all road users, not just automobiles.

Click on the image to see what Tom Tomorrow things of modest proposals.

Tonight, the Northridge West Neighborhood Council will vote on what Los Angeles Bike Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey is facetiously calling a “modest proposal” to, as it says in the agenda description, “Encourage Bicycle Violator Citations and Reinstitute Bicycle Licensing (Bicycle license fees must be at least $150 per year to reflect their shared responsibility for the cost of maintaining the roads and their safe use).”  The proposal is item 13v on the Neighborhood Council agenda.

Northridge West just happens to be the Neighborhood Council that has the portion of Wilbur Avenue that has undergone a road diet in the summer of 2010.  You may note that the diet has been a controversial topic at the local level and has caused no amount of headaches for City Councilman Greig Smith and the LADOT.

Apparently, at least one local stakeholder wants to double-down on that headache.  Unfortunately, the proposal is so wacky and out of step it says more about any Neighborhood Council that would pass it than it does about cyclists.  Some things the Neighborhood Council should know before it votes:

The first of these issues is that the state vehicle registration fee has nothing to do with the upkeep of local roads.  Since the author is apparently trying to equate the state vehicle license fee which goes to air pollution mitigation and highway upkeep caused by heavy vehicles traveling billions of miles across the state every year with local road maintenance paid by sales and property tax, it’s important to note that there has yet to be a case where a pothole has been caused by too many bicycles running over it.The writer apparently has no idea what state and local fees pay for what parts or road maintenance.

Next, it is actually illegal to charge more than $3 for a bike license under state law.  If the author of this motion wants to really charge cyclists $150 per bike, the first law that needs to be changed is a state law.

The Neighborhood Council should also consider the history of bike licensing in Los Angeles.  You can get a good recent history with Streetsblog’s coverage of the end of the city’s bike licensing program.  In short, licensing the millions of bicycles in the city is a nigh impossible task if you follow the state’s guidelines for licensing and the LAPD has no stomach or resources to waste on such a program again.

Last is the public relations effect of passing this legislation.  The conduct and testimony of road diet opponents at last month’s Joint Neighborhood Council meeting didn’t just disgust me, but also one of the most prominent opponents of the  road diet, Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks.

Banks wrote in her column today:

But last month, at a community meeting on the issue, I felt my perspective shift. City officials admitted that the change had been hastily made, without enough public input. They came to offer a compromise. The residents booed, yelled insults and shouted them down.

I couldn’t help thinking as I surveyed the crowd that most of the complainers looked like they could use some time on a bike. I felt a bit embarrassed to be on their side.

If you would like to urge the Neighborhood Council to reject this proposal, you can attend their meeting tonight (the meeting location is on the agenda), or just drop an email to board@northridgewest.org.  Before you write an email, please remember that the Neighborhood Council Members are volunteers and that this proposal was put forward by a stakeholder of the Council not a Board Member.

  • Blah

    these folks in northridge are so harmless…. it’s a bunch of old brittle retirees holding on to their glorious tail fin past…. and their pool boy sons in laws who drive huge 4 x 4’s and hang out at Black Angus on the weekends.

  • Blah

    these folks in northridge are so harmless…. it’s a bunch of old brittle retirees holding on to their glorious tail fin past…. and their pool boy sons in laws who drive huge 4 x 4’s and hang out at Black Angus on the weekends.

  • Isn’t Don Ward an at-large member of the NWNC?

  • Under-estimating an adversary… that’s the ticket!

  • The Dude Abides

    I wonder where Ron Wengler came up with the $150.00 figure? Well if we use the current VLF from the DmV at .65% my $300 bicycle would have a $19.00 fee. The funny thing is that 30% of the fee goes to the county for health and welfare programs. So can I take 30% off my bike fee?

    Which of corse begs the question. Have all those horse owners in stevnson ranch paid their $14.00 fee to the city?

  • Not to minimize the insanity of this proposal, but how would this even be enforced if it was to pass?

  • Anonymous

    Councilman Greig Smith would come to your door, ask how many bikes you have, whether they are licensed, and collect the money. ;-)

  • $150? That’s more than my car registration.

  • Dharmapath

    My math was a little off. The fee is actually $1.95.

    So 150 is way off base compared to car VLF.

  • Dharmapath

    My math was a little off. The fee is actually $1.95.

    So 150 is way off base compared to car VLF.

  • Blah

    I heard he’s pushing for this to pass.

  • Blah

    underestimating these people? c’mon… in 5 years these old farts wont even be driving and their kids will be on cumadin and insulin carting themselves around on modified Odyssey 4’s

  • CVC 39004(a) limits the fee for new licenses to $4/year.
    CVC 39004(d) limits renewals to $2/year.

    Either way, the maximum is not $3.

  • Either way it’s not $150.00 either. Why it the NHC wasting time on this in the first place.

  • joeyd

    “Bicycle license fees must be at least $150 per year to reflect their shared responsibility for the cost of maintaining the roads and their safe use”

    My 2009 yamaha zuma 125 scooter costs $99 a year to register.

    Why on earth would my scooter requires less for the use of the road then my bicycle?

    In addition do I need to pay $150 per bike? If So I would need to pay $750 a year for all the bikes in my family.

    These people are just silly, if we need to license cyclists then we need to license joggers and walkers too!

  • Anonymous

    Oh they WILL be driving…and to YOUR Farmer’s Market. Mark my words!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Week in Livable Streets Events

|
Tuesday – Last month, Joe Linton brought you coverage of the installation of bike lanes, and a corresponding road diet, occuring on Wilbur Avenue in the Northridge-West Neighborhood in the Valley.  Last week, I talked about Council Man Smith’s angry reaction.  But what does the neighborhood actually think?  The Northridge-West Neighborhood Council meets in the […]

Wilbur Road Diet Debate Reaches Its Conclusion, Again

|
The heated debate over the Wilbur Road diet is back in the news as Councilman Greig Smith has asked the LADOT to move forward with a compromise proposal that it presented to a joint meeting of the Northridge West and Porter Ranch Neighborhood Councils last month.  The Council’s had sent representatives to a “Wilbur Working […]