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14/01/2011 // INFO 1 Comment

Backlash forces withdrawal of bike licence plate law

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Licence plates on a bicycle. Sounds absurd doesn’t it, but that’s what had been proposed in the US state of New Jersey by Democratic Party Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker until public outrage over a proposed bill forced her to withdraw the proposal yesterday.

Ms Tucker had proposed on January 6 a legislative bill that would have required bicycle owners to register their bikes with the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. On paying a $10 registration fee, a license plate would be issued that would then have to be displayed when cyclists rode their bicycles on public roads. Anyone riding without plates would be faced with fines of up to $100. The licence plates would be valid for two years.

Ms Tucker said she had been motivated to put forward the bill after her office had received repeated complaints from pedestrians, particularly the elderly, that people on bicycles had been riding on pavements and had been knocking people over.

However, the news of the bill sparked hundreds of comments to local newspapers, the local news website NJ.com and local radio, most of which claimed that the measures of the bill were totally out of proportion with tackling the problem of cyclists knocking over elderly pedestrians. Others stated that Ms Tucker had not thought through the costs of policing such proposals.

Local cycling advocacy groups also mobilised to get their opposition to the bill heard not only in New Jersey but also publicise the absurdity of the legislation across the United States.

A victory for common sense I think you will agree.

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