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Watch the KATU News program on bicycle licensing

Monday, September 10th, 2012

As promised, last week I sat down with KATU News anchor Steve Dunn and local business owner Bob Huckaby to discuss his plans to seek a ballot measure that would mandate license plates for all bicycles in Oregon and would require people to have a bicycle operators license.

Dunn moderated a discussion between Huckaby and I for their Your Voice/Your Vote program. It ran on Sunday morning at 9:00 am; but in case you missed it, it’s now available for viewing online. (more…)

Licensing discussion hits the airwaves Sunday

Friday, September 7th, 2012
Still image from last night’s taping.
(That’s Bob Huckaby on the left, KATU’s Steve Dunn
in the middle, and some bike blogger on the right.)

UPDATE, 9/9: The show is now posted online. Watch it here.

The potential of two statewide ballot measures that would require a license plate on all bicycles and would mandate bicycle law testing for everyone who doesn’t have a driver’s license, has once again thrust the licensing debate into the public dialogue. This Sunday morning, our local ABC station, KATU, will air a special segment on the topic as part of their Your Voice/Your Vote program. Last night, KATU News anchor Steve Dunn did a great job moderating a discussion on the issue between myself and Bob Huckaby, the man behind the ballot measure effort.
(more…)

Bob Huckaby moves forward on statewide bike registration, licensing measures

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

“Everybody has to be on the same playing field…I’ll share the road, but let’s share the laws too.”
— Bob Huckaby

Buoyed by support from across the state, Portlander Bob Huckaby is going full-steam ahead on a statewide ballot measure that would require all bicycles to have license plates and would mandate a bicycle law test for all adults who don’t already have a driver’s license.

We first reported on Huckaby last month, when he shared concerns over the City’s decision to partially close N. Wheeler Avenue at Broadway. Huckaby owns First Inc., a business just a few blocks away from the intersection. “Instead of making people obey the laws,” Huckaby shared with me on August 19th, “they’re penalizing everyone else, and that’s not right.” A few days after the closure, Huckaby told a local TV news station that he planned to take the bicycle license requirement to voters via a ballot measure.

Yesterday I sat down with Huckaby to discuss the issues and see where he stood on the ballot measure. (more…)

Comment highlight: Thoughts on getting a “free” ride

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
A family ride to IKEA-8.jpg
Free riders.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s a common refrain during civic debates about bicycling: People on bikes get a “free ride” and it’s just “not fair” that any public subsidies should go toward making bicycling better because people who ride “don’t pay their way” and they are scofflaws to boot. It’s that type of perspective that led to my thoughts last week on how we should approach the licensing discussion from a position of reform, not revenge.

That post has led to some excellent ideas and thoughts from the community and the comment section is still alive and well five days later. Last night, frequent commenter El Biciclero shared his thoughts on this concept that people on bikes are getting a “free ride.” I’ve pasted his entire comment below…

It is my firm belief that nowadays, most folks who call for licensing/registration of riders/bicycles do so with a revenge motive. A lot of people see cyclists just as you describe–as somehow cheating the system. They don’t think it seems “fair” for cyclists to get a “free” ride.

I’ll tell you about “free”. (more…)

Opinion: Licensing debate should focus on reform, not revenge

Friday, August 24th, 2012
Bike traffic on N. Interstate

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of the big debate: Should bike riders be required to have a license?

This time it comes up following a decision by the City of Portland to partially close N. Wheeler Ave. The closure prevents all vehicles (not just cars and trucks) from turning right from Broadway and it was done to stop a scary history of right-hook collisions. Bob Huckaby, who owns a business that uses Wheeler for access, was opposed to the closure from the get-go. He saw the move as an unfair penalty on people who drive. In his mind, the right-hook problem exists only because people do not come to a complete stop when bicycling down N. Flint Ave., which is just a few yards upstream from Wheeler.

I agree with Bob. It’s unfair when the actions of one road user negatively impact another. But while I share his concerns about the issue, I disagree that pointing fingers at bicycle operators and calling for mandatory licenses will achieve the goal. Let’s put our energy towards reform, not revenge.
(more…)

A push for bike licensing follows Wheeler closure

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-12
Bob Huckaby, owner of First Inc., wants
the state of Oregon to require
bicycle licenses.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Well it looks like First Inc. owner Bob Huckaby is a bit more frustrated with the City of Portland’s decision to close Wheeler Ave than I initially thought. KATU News is set to report this afternoon that Huckaby — the man featured in our story on Monday who aired concerns about people on bicycles not obeying the stop sign at N. Flint — plans to push for a bicycle license requirement via a statewide ballot measure.

According to KATU, Huckaby will pursue a campaign in 2013 to put bicycle license requirement up for a public vote with the aim of making people who ride bicycles more accountable and forcing them to become more knowledgeable of traffic laws. Here’s the video just posted on the KATU Facebook page (and watch how the pickup truck goes right around the new barrier and turns right on Wheeler at about the :36 second mark):

(more…)

Legislative committee wants ODOT to study bike licensing

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Share the Road plate-1.jpg
They work for cars, but for bikes?
(Photo © J. Maus)

The House Committee on Transportation has put forward a legislative concept (soon to become an official bill) that would direct the Oregon Department of Transportation to conduct a study on the feasibility of bicycling licensing.

The idea currently exists as Legislative Concept 1581 (LC 1581). According to the LC draft language (PDF here), if passed, the ODOT would conduct a study on, “the feasibility of issuing bicycle licenses to owners of bicycles.” (more…)

A cautionary tale: Medford scraps bike licensing ordinance

Friday, March 5th, 2010

“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. (more…)

Gandhi, bike licensing, and a 100 year-old debate

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
Gandhi protested against bike
licenses 100 years ago.
(Photo: Wikidpedia)

The topic of bicycle licensing has been growing into more than a buzz lately. It’s often brought up around watercoolers and on web forums, and at this year’s Oregon Bike Summit, one of the keynote speakers (Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Gail Achterman) suggested that licensing bicycles is a “conversation” we need to have, and soon.

If she’s right, we’ll be right there in the thick of it. In the meantime, I’ve come across two interesting articles in the past few days that offer a chance to start that conversation a bit early. (more…)

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