Let’s Get Ready to License, Council Members Want to Re-Examine City’s Bike License Program

KIDD 240/Flickr via marino at Midnight Ridazz

Back in 2009, a discussion of the city’s bicycle licensing program was at the core of any Livable Streets discussion. Two members of the Los Angeles City Council have introduced a motion to bring that discussion, if not the licenses themselves, back.

At the time, the LAPD had two police stations in the entire city that offered licensing, which is really more of a registration for the bicycle than any sort of license that requires skill or knowledge of traffic laws, but was still citing bicycle riders for not having license stickers on their bicycles. The fines were outrageous, sometimes higher than the cost of the bicycle being cited, and were in violation of a state law that allows cities to run bicycle licensing programs.

After a series of public hearings held by the City Council Transportation Committee, initially chaired by Wendy Greuel but later by Bill Rosendahl, the LAPD recommended the suspension of the program. The City Council complied, although there were still the occasional ticket issued by clueless officers.

The motion, presented by Council Member Tom LaBonge and co-sponsored seconded (see comment by Tony Arranaga for clarification of the difference between “c0-sponsor” and “second”) by Mitch O’Farrell, talks about licensing as a needed way for the city to support cycling. Licensing will allow the city to better track the number of bicycles owned by residents, provide a way for the LAPD to track stolen bicycles, and identify the rider after the most serious of crashes.

California caps both the fine that cities can collect for unlicensed bicycles in a mandatory program and the amount that a city can charge for a license. The latter charge is $4, which means that it would be nigh impossible for a city to make money on such a program.

Despite the supportive language in the proposal, and that it only calls for a discussion on how to best bring a licensing program back, most bicycling advocates are not supporters. The proposal is similar to one made by Ed Reyes in 2009 which was tabled indefinitely. The state also only allows cities to license and enforce the licensing of bicycles of residents. This means that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get my bicycle licensed in Santa Monica, nor could LAPD ticket a Santa Monica resident riding an unlicensed bicycle.

“We’re honestly just puzzled by this proposal, which was resurrected with zero input from bicyclists,” writes Eric Bruins from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. “All of the supposed aims of the program can be accomplished more efficiently and effectively by other means.  The internet has enabled national registries to fight bike theft and personal identification is more reliable than a tag on a bicycle that may or may not belong to the rider.”

The most puzzling part of the proposal is that a licensing program would allow the city to track how many bicycles are owned by city residents. Given the dismal state of the program in the years preceding 2009, and the four years since where the program was completely dead, it’s hard to imagine how such a program would register the literally millions of unlicensed bicycles in the city. Bruins has a different idea for how the city could spend its resources.

“It would be a far more effective use of resources for the City to invest in bike and pedestrian counts rather than relying on the volunteer labor of nonprofit groups,” he continues, referencing the LACBC’s bicycle and pedestrian counts that were completed last month.

The biggest problem with the licensing program was that it was mandatory, meaning that it became a weapon for officers to harass cyclists with whom they had another issue. In Los Angeles, the target was often participants in groups rides, especially C.R.A.N.K. Mob or Critical Mass. In other cities, the license program was used as an excuse to profile minority cyclists.

Last May, Angie Schmitt wrote about the history of bicycle licensing leading to a de-facto profiling of minority and youth cyclists, even in a voluntary system.

“Requiring bicycle licenses could potentially lead to even more racial profiling and police harassment of immigrants and low-income folks. It unfairly penalizes those with the least resources, who might be buying their bikes used,” said Allison Mannos, MCM Board President. “It also fails to address larger, more important safety concerns that cyclists face in Los Angeles, such as uneducated and fast speeding motorists or a need for infrastructure.”

Another puzzling part of the resolution notes the importance of a licensing program in how cities show their support for bicycling. This is puzzling because the most bicycle friendly cities in America (Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, New York, Long Beach) don’t have licensing programs. Locally, bike-friendly Santa Monica does have a program, but it’s voluntary for people who want their information stored in a state registry.

Most tellingly, when I reached out to a bicycle advocate in Portland about whether or not their city had a licensing program, she responded that no city has ever had a successful mandatory program and recommended mocking instead of analyzation.

If the city does study licensing but discovers that it isn’t cost-effective, then it could try to pass the buck to bicycle shop owners by requiring licensing at the point of sale. This proposal would not sit well with bike shop owners, according to Josef Bray-Ali, owner of the Flying Pigeon Bicycle Shop.

“If this were a totally voluntary program that allowed people to retrieve stolen property or file insurance claims and be reimbursed for their loss then this would be a great idea,” writes Bray-Ali. “A similar system functions in Denmark and the Netherlands to make the epidemic of bike theft in those countries less bothersome. If this is mandatory, expect me and others in the industry to raise hell.”

While advocates are split on the value of a licensing program, there is universal agreement that it should be an optional way for the city to help cyclists in a case of emergency. Requiring millions of bicycles to be registered will create a new bureaucracy, and another barrier to bicycling in a city that is still struggling to shake its reputation as the Car-Culture Capital of America.

Neither the offices of O’Farrell or LaBonge replied to many requests for comment for this story.

  • Daniel Jewell

    I don’t know what ‘analyzation’ is but I like it. Also, if we mandated licensure of bicycles at the point of sale, it would be easier to buy a firearm than a bicycle.

  • Roadblock

    LOL. I’m not even gonna bother with this one. All my bikes are licensed already thanks to the great Midnight Ridazz civil obedience protest that annoyed the LAPD into endorsing it’s repeal in the first place. This is just a red herring is my best guess. Something for #bikeLA to fume about while LaBonge and O’Farrel sneak that 55mph Hyperion Freeway Bridge “improvement” in.

  • Roadblock

    “It would be a far more effective use of resources for the City to
    invest in bike and pedestrian counts rather than relying on the
    volunteer labor of nonprofit groups” BINGO. I know LaBonge is kind of out of it when it comes to actual useful bike things…. But I’m really surprised that O’Farrel is just as clueless about transportation design….

  • Anonymous

    One Council Member immediately came to mind when I read that a motion was introduced to register bicycles. I was not surprised to find his name as the council member who presented this motion.

    There are four reasons given for registering bicycles in the motion:

    1) A method for tracking and returning stolen bicycles. The stickers would be easily removed if the bicycle is stolen, so that can’t be a serious consideration.

    2) Monitoring the number of bicycles. That would not be accurate due to the problems with #1 and the number of bikes that are sold used by way of yard sales, etc. Buy a used bike for $20 and then spend $20 to register it? I don’t see how that will happen in most cases since no one will know its not registered unless you are stopped by the LAPD.

    3) Identifying the rider. If there was a requirement to use some sort of a key in order to ride off on a bicycle, then you this might have some possibility of working. As it is, bicycles are easily stolen.

    4) An “incentive” for the public to invest in bicycles. Strangely, it appears that #3 and #4 appear to be the main focus for this motion. Could it be that the public complaining about bicycle riders not paying taxes for upkeep of the roads or registration fees would be the driving force behind this motion? Nah, not for Tom LaBonge. He wouldn’t create a motion to try and reduce the amount of complaints, while wording it to try and make it appear that he is supporting bicycling. That would be cleverly trying to appeal to both sides of the fence when he is actually just trying to make the complaining go away.

  • Anonymous

    Once again we see another example of non-cyclists pushing to somehow shove square bicycles into round holes created for cars. Bicycles are not cars.

    Bicycles are not dangerous like cars. Bicycles cannot inflict damage or death with the same ease as a 2500 lb car. Bicycles do not damage roadways like cars. Bicycles do not consume resources, produce exhaust, or otherwise use materials anywhere near the same rate as cars. Bicycles do not have the same stopping distance as cars. Bicycles careening out of control rarely injure anyone other than their riders.

    Nonetheless, and in spite of all of this people whose entire lives revolve around cars desperately want to equate bicycles with cars for EVERYTHING except when it comes to sharing the roadways, where they wish to marginalize cyclists, declare them unequal and disentitled to use of the roads for which their riders pay while wishing them into oblivion.

    Welcome to the double-standard, motorist-style. There’s nothing as self-contradictory as a person who does not ride a bicycle telling people who do ride bicycles how they should ride.

  • james

    Could I suggest we come up with a new term, the verb “to lebonge.”

    It could mean to be run down by a speeding motorist on a resedential street that resembles a highway/should have been turned into a bicycle boulevard.

    Or to distract the public and press with bogus legislation, motions or hearings when they should be paying attention to something far more important.

    “The house republicans attempted to lebonge the press with hearings about Lesbian middle school gangs just as more F-22 orders were added to the farm bill .. “

  • Joe B

    I’ve got a better idea, let’s have mandatory licensing for toothbrushes instead. That way LAPD can roam the city harassing people with good dental hygiene. Won’t that be fun?

  • Eric B

    FWIW, both LaBonge and O’Farrell ride bikes on a fairly regular basis.

  • KillMoto

    I own five bikes, but as you’d expect only ride one (or zero) at a time.

    A better way of tracking use of streets by cyclists would be automated counters, like those in Europe and Portland for bikes, and pretty much everywhere for cars. THAT makes more sense than a new requirement to register

  • Mary

    Why are those who have different bicycle ideas called names? It appears most bicycle strides and achievements bristle against any discussion of the simplest of ideas: a license. Many bicycle coalitions seem to have succeeded in road diets, lanes and legislative success. Why shouldn’t a bicyclist be compelled to abide by the same rules that apply to a motorcycle and car? The creation of order on the roads for everyone is good idea for everyone. And by the way, please do t try and label me a non-bicyclist. You’d be wrong.

  • I received a request to post this comment by Tony Arranaga, the spokesperson for Mitch O’Farrell. I’ve made a correction to the story above.

    “Thank you for raising awareness about the proposed policy on Streetsblog. Just to clarify, my boss *seconded* the motion, he did not introduce the motion. A second signature on a motion simply means that councilmember wants to have it heard in committee. I would encourage your readers to take part in this continuing public process –at City Hall– and show your support or opposition on this issue.”

  • wonderyak

    I have no problems with cyclists; I am happy to share my streets and traffic with them.

    What I would like is for someone to get all of these asshole people riding bicycles off the damned sidewalks flying through pedestrians and stop signs/lights without a care.

    In Canoga Park, its becoming difficult to walk on the sidewalk anymore without having to avoid people on bikes flying by you. Unlike the cyclists I see in the street (often wearing helmets and obeying laws), they don’t follow any laws and they act like they are the only people in the world that matter.

    For this reason, I’m in favor of licensing just to get the assholes that don’t follow the rules out of the way.

  • Anonymous

    Really? Do you really think that the motion mentioned would get people to stop riding on the sidewalk? There is no reason mentioned that it would keep people from riding on sidewalks, What stops people from doing that is safe infrastructure for them. Also, when you say “my” streets, makes you sound like a jerk. They aren’t your streets, they belong to all of us, they are public right of ways.

  • Niall Huffman

    Bicyclists are already subject to the same rules as drivers of vehicles. They can and do get cited for violations when an officer witnesses it. This is no different from the way traffic laws are enforced against motor vehicle drivers. Be honest: have you ever taken down the license plate number of a driver you witnessed violating the law and reported that number to the police? Why would anyone do the same when the violation is committed on a bike? A little tag on the frame of the bike like the one in the picture would be unreadable to a passing observer and, if the bike were to be found by the police at a later time, would offer no proof of the identity of the person actually riding the bike at the time the violation was committed.

    Re: road diets and legislative success for bike advocates: why does progress for bicycling have to follow a transactional model? Why can’t we just make good public policy decisions for the benefit of all rather than worrying about whether this or that vaguely defined interest group is getting more than some self-appointed arbiter feels it deserves?

  • Christopher Kidd

    Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is legal in Los Angeles. Requiring a license for bicyclists wouldn’t change that.

    http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/bikes-on-sidewalks/

  • Dennis Hindman

    Council Member Tom Labonge brought up the subject of licensing bicycles in the April, 10th 2013 Transportation Committee Meeting of the LA city council.

    You can hear him talk about it with LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator starting at 27:25 of this audio version of the meeting:

    http://lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=46&clip_id=11572

    Tom Labonge mentions how horses are licensed. The main difference in difficulties between enforcing licensing of motor vehicles, horses and bicycles is that motor vehicles and horses are much more difficult to change the look of compared to bicycles if they are stolen. I ran across a young male on a sidewalk in Balboa Park who was using a plastic disposable shaver to remove all of the stickers on a bicycle. It looked obvious that he had probably just stolen it. This would be much more difficult to do with a motorcycle. As for a horse, what can you do, dye it green like in the Wizard of Oz movie?

  • cooper hodsen

    it should be illegal and i hope it comes to a vote. sidewalks are for pedestrians. if the desire is to fairly share the street and receive equal treatment, stay on the streets. same with registration. equality comes with responsibility. the state should change those laws too. registration, renewal and plate fees should be on the same order as motorcycles. no license – same fine as autos or motorcycles.

  • cooper hodsen

    stop excusing aggressive actions like driving on sidewalks. the key to safe operation of any vehicle on the road is to pay attention and ride/drive defensively. that means not making any assumptions and be ready to stop or slow down at any time. the only “accidents” that can be difficult to avoid are those involving intoxication, lack of sleep, and mechanical or structural failure. ultimately just following the law and being “right” is not enough to make any of us safe.

  • Anonymous

    Trying to apply equal treatment for those on bicycles as there is for pedestrian or motorists would require that bicycles be given space that is separate from the much greater mass and speed of motor vehicles. Cars have safety windshields, airbags, seatbelts and crush zones to reduce injuries to occupants. Pedestrians are afforded barrier protected sidewalks, walk signals and crosswalk. Barrier protected on-street bikeways would increase the safety for those riding bicycles. An occassional paint stripe designating a bike lane that disappears as the intersection is approached to make room for motor vehicle turn lanes is not even close to equal treatment.

    Sidewalks are considered an extension of the road. Do you expect pedestrians to also be licensed, registered, renewal and plate fees?

    How about we require that drivers of automobiles wear helmets since this has been proven to a dangerous activity.

    Since we’re on the equal treatment topic, how about we tax motorists enough to reflect the true cost of driving?

    There needs to be far more tax than the three cents a gallon from the retail pump that is received by the city of Los Angeles in order to repair the damage caused by motor vehicles.

    The federal tax on motor fuel at the retail pump is a flat fee per gallon that hasn’t changed since 1994. That needs to be increased dramatically to make up what has been lost to inflation.

    There is also the costs of damage incurred from collisions, or health problems caused by motor vehicles that would require far more fees than that of pedestrians or bicycles. Hmmm…we already do that, but its not enough to cover the true costs. I get your point. There should be far more taxes and fees applied to motor vehicles to try and ensure more equal treatment among the different modes of transportation.

  • cooper hodsen

    obviously the solution to that, besides registration and plates, is to have vehicle identification numbers in multiple places. adding a few personally wouldn’t hurt either. if the thief is stopped, plate or no plate, the VIN can be used to verify the registered owner and further checked against the operator’s driver’s license or state ID card.

  • cooper hodsen

    know where you live. this is not europe or portland. registration makes the owner responsible for his actions. counters theoretically are good for tracking street use, but present another reason why riding on sidewalks needs to be outlawed. that way the traffic count would not be underestimated.

  • cooper hodsen

    that’s a childish response that avoids addressing the need for rider responsibility.

  • Joe B

    That’s a childish response that avoids addressing the need for proper flossing. Why do you hate teeth so much?

  • cooper hodsen

    no it’s another example of how many cyclists see themselves as special and above the law.
    i ride a bike. i want to feel safe when riding. i ride for recreation because distances involved and time concerns, among many reasons, make it impractical for work. when i drive i also want feel safe and want those using other modes of transportation to feel safe as well. i never want to be the cause of injury to another on the road. i obviously grew up first learning how to cross the street, then riding a bike so as to avoid an accident. when i took driver’s ed the primary point the instructor drove home was the need to drive defensively. almost all “accidents” are avoidable even if the other guy is doing something wrong. pay attention, take nothing for granted and be prepared to slow down or stop at all times.
    registration and license fees are needed so that riders know they must act responsibly and will be held accountable.
    regarding cars and resources, etc – the blame is not with the drivers, but with the auto industry and petroleum industry and a government that does not take seriously the need to force development of efficient, renewable sources of energy.

  • cooper hodsen

    the lack of effective laws regulating the purchase and use of firearms is your rationale for not registering bicycles? that seems to reflect the very avoidance of responsibility registration would help to correct.

  • cooper hodsen

    i fail to see why registration, just like for motorcycles, should generate such opposition except for the desire to avoid being held responsible for your bike and your behaviour while riding.
    why are the only “good public policy decisions” the ones that give cyclists more “stuff”? be grateful for all that’s been done. accepting that all the DOT’s plans will see completion, even by the most generous estimates the percentage of those who commute by bicycle might rise to maybe 2% of all commuters. yet you criticize the politicians as fools and the plans as “not enough” or “not exactly what we want”.
    i’m glad the future hold good things for alternative modes of transportation, but if the demands, complaints, and aggression toward those with other opinions continue, you might find you’ve lost some supporters.

  • cooper hodsen

    got me on that one! :)

  • Niall Huffman

    How would a tiny, unreadable sticker attached to the bike that contains no proof of the rider’s (as opposed to the owner’s) identity help to hold bicyclists accountable for their behavior? Enforcement is what holds people accountable for violating the law, and it’s not necessary for a bike to have a license on it for its rider to be stopped and issued a citation.

    The reasons for bicycle advocates to be opposed to mandatory bicycle registration are clearly laid out in Damien’s post — namely, it provides mechanism for arbitrary law enforcement action, creates a barrier to bicycling for low-income people, and won’t even cover residents of other cities who ride bikes on LA’s streets.

    I never said “the only good public policy decisions the ones that give cyclists more stuff.” You’re putting words in my mouth. I happen to think that giving cyclists “more stuff” is, generally speaking, a good thing, because cyclists are starting out from a position of having practically nothing and being forced to ride (if they’re going to ride at all) on streets that are dangerous and inhospitable for cycling. We’ve spent the last 80+ years widening streets, building freeways, and lavishing “stuff” on those who choose to drive automobiles; most good transportation policy decisions going forward are going to be ones that involve restoring some balance for users of other modes.

    Your source for the assertion that “even by the most generous estimates the percentage of those who commute by bicycle might rise to maybe 2%”? Commute-to-work numbers are notoriously misleading because they leave out non-work trips, which account for about 3/4 of all trips made.

    How am I being aggressive toward those with other opinions? Merely expressing my disagreement and challenging the arugments of those with whom I disagree does not constitute aggression.

  • cooper hodsen

    you are deluding yourself if you actually believe all you wrote. “sidewalks as an extension of the road”? can i drive my motorcycle on the sidewalk? what protects pedestrians from cyclists riding too fast? most of your comments are the cynical and self serving stuff spread with generalizations but not backed by facts. poor, poor you. wah, wah.

    what’s with the helmet question? i admit ignorance on this. are cyclists required, because i see most without.

    by equality i mean fair and equal courteous treatment on the road, and responsibility for your own actions and the intelligence to drive defensively because there will always be some jerk, driver or rider, who ignores the rules.

    the companion to that is the larger picture, where decisions by a democratic society should advance the majority opinion while protecting minority views. cyclists represent about 0.4% of commuters in los angeles.

    i’ve addressed car emissions and accidents in other posts here. go read them.

  • Anonymous

    Your asking that there should be license plates on a product that sells for $70 in a discount department store and that there be drivers licenses to operate it. What city on this planet does that?

    A reason why no city has is that it does not work as it is totally impractical in practice. Its one thing to require a product that can cause great destruction and bodily harm to others to have a license and to show proof that you know how to operate it. But it is quite another to do this for a product that a five year old can operate safely.

  • Anonymous

    Pedestrians use the road by virtue of being in the crosswalk. Therefore, according to your reasoning, they should have license plates and show proof that they are qualified to do so by having walking licenses.

    Majority opinion should not be used to bully and suppress the minority as you are advocating.

    The commuting modal share for bicycling hasn’t been as low as 0.4% in the city of Los Angeles for at least the last 23 years. In fact its risen in the last 5 years, while driving has fallen.

  • Niall Huffman

    All registration does is tell you who the legal owner of the vehicle is. It doesn’t help establish the identity of a person who was witnessed committing a violation. This is especially true of the tiny stickers used to register bikes under LA’s suspended program.

  • Anonymous

    Examples from other cities where something has been shown to work is evidently not valid, according to you, for Los Angeles because they are a different species.

    You don’t seem to have a clue how automatic counters in the street work. Those that are used for motor vehicles cannot accurately detect the presence of bicycles and vice versa.

    You have presented a lot of ideas that have been proven to be impractical in practice.

  • Anonymous

    I should have wrote that sidewalks are part of the highway, other than the roadway.

    No, you cannot ride a motor vehicle on a sidewalk or mixed use path–its prohibited by law. It is however legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in this state unless a city decides to not allow it. Los Angeles does allow it.

  • cooper hodsen

    as i wrote in other comments here, i would like to see “plates”, not “stickers” sorry if that won’t look cool.

    re:ownership
    as with autos and motorcycle, any problems/incidents involving the vehicle are the responsibility of the owner unless they can provide proof the vehicle had been rented or subleased to a third party. if you lend it to your buddy for the day and he screws up you are responsible. hopefully you will not lend it to him again.

    re: registration
    again as with autos and motorcycles, registration should be through the DMV. that would eliminate any location conflicts. older vehicle fees should be based on age. everyone had to get a bike license when i was a kid, no matter what kind of bike. $20 a year does not discriminate against anyone. you seriously believe that? my personal observation has been that those poorer people follow the rules and ride more responsibly that the ones with the expensive bikes. as far as targeting or profiling – if it’s a legal bike, it has a license, and the rider is obeying laws why would they would they be stopped? if someone in a group was stopped unjustly, certainly they’d get press support and there would be enough witnesses to have any case thrown out. just a few of those and the police would be under a different directive.

    re: history
    believe me, i’m not unsympathetic, but it’s a situation you’ve chosen to be part of. no different than those whose move to some new development in the foothills and complain about all the coyotes or buy a house above the strip and complain about the kids and noise at night. i agree that los angeles is probably one of the worst cities in the US to ride a bike, but you made that choice. that doesn’t obligate a deficit ridden city to allocate funds that might have gone to education and senior programs (i read the city budget) so that small percentage of bikes can have pretty paths by the river and bike lanes on streets that can’t accommodate them. places like downtown, for sure. it’s a layout that works for bikes. big wide streets where traffic speeds by? of course. los angeles can never be a new york or portland, much less an amsterdam. what makes it work in europe are the narrow streets and that bicycles were an integral part of the cities i’m guessing from the 20s? certainly well before the influx of cars and much better suited for short rides or recreation in the country. a bike would never have been an option when i went from silver lake to century city in a suit everyday, or ten years later getting to a 6am call at Warner Bros for a 12-16 hour day.
    now i’m rambling, but you understand. no amount of spending is going to make los angeles a place where even 15-20% of commuters are cyclists.

    re: 2%
    that’s commuters, not commutes (trips). that’s based on proponents estimates that, with all the work done, bike commuting will quadruple.

    i’m tired so i’m going to sleep. i apologize if i typed you unfairly. i was just looking at every comment and trying to write a reply. i’m not writing these without doing a lot of reading and research, and gathering lots of government data. also lots of driving and biking around a 2-3 mile area around my house.

    all the best to you.

  • Will Campbell

    Damien wrote: “This means that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get my bicycle licensed
    in Santa Monica, nor could LAPD ticket a Santa Monica resident riding an
    unlicensed bicycle.”

    Well as a Los Angeles resident in 2011 I wanted to get my bike licensed in Santa Monica — and did. I completed the form and mailed it with the appropriate payment to the appropriate address in Santa Monica and in short order received the appropriate stickers that I appropriately applied to the appropriate bicycle.

  • Will Campbell

    Damien wrote: “This means that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get my bicycle licensed
    in Santa Monica, nor could LAPD ticket a Santa Monica resident riding an
    unlicensed bicycle.”

    Well as a Los Angeles resident in 2011 I wanted to get my bike licensed in Santa Monica — and did. I completed the form and mailed it with the appropriate payment to the appropriate address in Santa Monica and in short order received the appropriate stickers that I appropriately applied to the appropriate bicycle.

  • Roadblock

    Why would he second that?! I like Tony Arranga and I like O’Farrel (I think?) but so far its not looking like smart moves being made here. Who goes against liveable streets and bicycles at this point? Dinosaur thinkers.

  • Anonymous

    “i see see registration as a good and fair way to help raise money for the city, county and state – and a way to make make cyclists accountable and locatable.”

    Incidentally, these programs have been money-losers in all (or most) cities that have had them — the cost of the programs are exceeded by the revenues brought in. Licensing with an accountability goal is a feel-good proposition, but I’d be curious where there is any evidence that it helps.

    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the police to locate my childhood bicycle, registered with the city in 1973 and stolen soon after.

  • Justin Nelson

    Riverside technically has a bicycle license program. I even think it’s technically mandatory. Nobody enforces it, and it took three or four transfers around City Hall to find anyone who’d actually heard of it. These programs are kind of a joke.