NEW YORK—The number of cycling commuters has more than doubled since 2007, according to the New York Department of Transportation (DOT). And city streets are expected to become even more crowded next year with the addition of 10,000 bikes, part of a bike share program set to launch in May.
More bikes has also led to more accidents, a problem that mayoral candidate Tom Allon proposes to reduce through licensing of and insurance for bikes. The licensing requirement would only apply to riders 16 and older.
When you deal with a very complex transportation grid like New York City, there has to be training, education, and proper safety, Allon said Thursday.
Allon said the system could be tied into the Department of Motor Vehicles, or exist as a separate program. Allon said he doesn’t want to make it onerous for people because people should be encouraged to ride, but a simple, low yearly fee to keep track of all the bikes in the city might work, Allon said.
He suggested a fee of $25–$50 per year, saying the fee, as well as any fines for noncompliance would offset the administrative costs to implement the program.
Allon said he did not know exactly how enforcement would work, however he likened it to the way parking enforcement is done.
The Epoch Times took to the streets to see what local cyclists had to say about the idea. Here are some of their comments:
Josh Sakofsky, 32, Senior Network Engineer, Manhattan
Member of a bike racing team
Good luck to him. It is a proposal that will be met with stiff resistance, and I don’t think they will be able to enforce it. What are you going to do about children, what are you going to do about bike share riders? How are you going to deal with that? I just don’t think it is possible.
William Kozar, 39, Art and Antique trade, Bronx
Bikes in the city
I think it will … stop the circulation of stolen bikes if we all have to be registered.
Rutilo, “young,” Bike Messenger, Queens
Rides his bike for a living
I think that is crazy. This is personal, it is not a vehicle.
Kana Sasaki, 45, Journalist, Manhattan
Loves to bike outside the city, but not in the city
It is not a bad idea, but I am not sure about the insurance part.
They (bikes) are not very safe. I had an incident with someone and I almost collided with a bike. I have seen bikes hit by car and crushed with another pedestrian.
Olivia Leitch, 19, student, Manhattan
Recreational bike rider
I don’t really ride my bike to get places in the city. I ride my bike in Central Park, for fun. It is a sport and I enjoy it, it is not something I think I should need a license for.
Leslie Rogers, 24, bartender, Manhattan
Rides a bike as his main means of transportation
If you have to get insurance for it, it is going to add an extra … it is something that is not going to help. I feel some kind of training would help out, but something to the extent where you have to be fully qualified I feel is a little too much. It would cause more of a hassle.
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