Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 5th, 2010 at 8:51 am
“We just think this is an unnecessary ordinance and is really unenforceable.”
— Randy Schoen, Medford police chief in the Mail Tribune newspaper
In the southern Oregon city of Medford, local lawmakers have decided to repeal an ordinance that required bicycles to have a license.
According to a story in the Mail Tribune yesterday, the ordinance was lifted by Medford City Council because it was difficult to enforce and it lacked a clear community benefit. The paper also reported that in the past 15 years, only one or two of the $195 citations had been issued.
Medford police Chief Randy Schoen supported the Council’s decision. He told the Tribune:
“It was rarely enforced… There are so many people commuting on bicycles who don’t live in Medford… We just think this is an unnecessary ordinance and is really unenforceable. It really doesn’t work in the best interest of our community.”
The ordinance was meant to help police track stolen bikes. They still encourage the licensing for that reason, but now it’s a voluntary, opt-in system.
Licensing — to track bikes or their operators — is a commonly suggested idea by people who want more accountability and regulation for bicycles. However, I have yet to hear of any city with a successful bike licensing program. I wasn’t aware of Medford’s law, but perhaps when the idea comes up again, we can use their experiences to educate people about this issue.
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