New York Bike Law Could Mean Mandatory Licenses and Insurance For the Whole State

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This afternoon, Gothamist points us to a proposal by assemblyman Michael DenDekker, a Democrat from Queens, which would require by law that every bicycle -- not just in New York City, but in New York state -- have a license plate, to be re-registered every year only after an inspection of the bike. A second bill, also in the works, would make it so every rider must be insured and carry identification. The enforcement would mean about $1,875,000 for New York, plus $375,000 every additional year in fees. But that's not the point, lawmakers insist.

The first bill would work on "ensuring personal protection for cases such as bicycle theft or bicycle accidents. With a recent high increase in bike use on roads, rising from 30% in 1980, and doubling to 60% just ten years later, it is essential that the state of New York be able to identify the bicycle riders." To that end, requirements would include:

"the annual registration of personal bicycles and provides for a license plate fee of twenty-five dollars for the first year and five dollars for every year thereafter." To get the license plate, cyclists would need to get their bicycles inspected to make sure they "conform to the lamp and equipment requirements."

As for the insurance part, that would "be beneficial for small businesses to have liability insurance because the insurance would pay for any medical bills, instead of having the payment come directly from the pockets of the business."

The laws also protect against the reckless riders, such that "if the rider strikes a pedestrian while in the course of their duty, the victim will straightforwardly be able to write down the license plate and so that insurance will be in place to compensate for any hospital bills."

The bills are available to read in full here and here, in addition to more from Gothamist. If this enrages any cyclists out there, perhaps go the Steve Cuozzo route.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]



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