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Bob Huckaby moves forward on statewide bike registration, licensing measures

Posted by on September 5th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

“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.

So far, Huckaby remains 100% dedicated to this effort. He’s building a coalition of support from around the state and he has hired a lawyer who is currently writing up the ballot language. While precise details are still being worked out, Huckaby says the measure (or measures, he might end up splitting them into two) would seek to create a new “bicycle endorsement” education program for people who have not taken the Oregon driver’s test. It would also mandate more police enforcement of traffic laws. To pay for the new bicycle-specific testing and the enforcement, Huckaby’s measure would require a fee for the endorsement test and would require registration via a license plate on all bicycles in Oregon.

At this point, Huckaby says the bicycle endorsement on your ID card would run about $10-12 every four years and the license plate would be $40 for every four years (or in my case, since my family has about 12 bikes, it would cost us $480 every four years).

The goal for Huckaby is simple: He feels there’s a big traffic safety problem brewing due to the growing number of people riding bikes in Portland (and across the state) who have never passed a test on how to ride safely and follow existing traffic laws. He sees his effort, not as being anti-bike, but as a way to “level the playing field” and make the interactions between road users more “compatible.” (Note: Huckaby says that while the Wheeler closure is a symbol of the problem, it’s not the main reason he’s doing this.)

“If you’re really going to talk about ‘share the roads’, and this is what it’s all about,” Huckaby said today, “everybody has to be on the same playing field…I’ll share the road, but let’s share the laws too… Let’s all operate the same way. And that goes both ways, I’m not after just bikes, I just think it needs to be a fair playing field. and that’s the only way you’re going to get it is to just register them.”

When Huckaby looks out at the roads, he sees a vast increase in bicycle traffic onto a system that isn’t ready for it. During our chat, he expressed frustration that the City of Portland has done so much promotion of bicycling, yet hasn’t built a complementary system of infrastructure to handle it (this is a point he and I agree on!).

“The problem our city has is it puts the cart before the horse.. when we go out say we’re bicycle friendly we better have our roads up to speed before we do that.” Absent infrastructure where bicycles can exist separate from cars, Huckaby feels working to improve education of the laws is necessary.

In his mind, bicycle licenses will increase compliance and therefore increase safety. “To me, it’s all about the safety. If everybody followed the law, you wouldn’t have the safety problem.” He added, “It’s going to educate people that don’t have a license… If knowledge of the laws will help bring the safety up — even if only 15% of the people learn the laws — we’d be better off.”

Huckaby believes that mandatory testing will educate more people and that having license plates on bikes will lead to more responsible behaviors and will make it easier for the police (and the public at large) to hold bicycle riders accountable for their actions.

Key to Huckaby’s perspective is the belief that a large percentage of people riding bikes in Oregon don’t already have a driver’s license (and the education, insurance, and accountability that goes along with it). However, according to a 2009 survey by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), 89% of the over 2,000 respondents said they own a car and have a driver’s license. Without significant revenue derived from people without a driver’s license obtaining the bicycle endorsement, even more pressure would be put onto the registration and license plate aspect of his plans (because without a stable funding stream, this measure isn’t likely to go very far).

As for fee-based bicycle registration schemes, history shows us that they do not work.

Just last year, the city of Long Beach, California scrapped its mandatory bicycle registration law in favor of a voluntary one. One Long Beach city council member told the LA Times, “Our mandatory system was antiquated and inefficient.” The city of Medford, Oregon scrapped their bike licensing ordinance back in 2010, with their police chief saying, “It really doesn’t work in the best interest of our community.”

Politically mandatory bicycle registration and/or licensing schemes have proven very unpopular. In March 2009, several members of the Oregon State House supported a $27 per year mandatory bicycle registration fee. The bill spurred outrage and died a quiet death without ever making it out of committee. Just last year, a bill was introduced that would have directed ODOT to study bicycle licensing. That bill never made it out of committee either.

Would a vote of the people lead to a different result?

Huckaby told me yesterday that since his plans went public last month, he’s had to take his name and contact information off his company’s website due to many rude and angry messages he’s received. But Huckaby seems undeterred by the potential controversy, the financial investment, and the hard road ahead to bring his ideas to a vote. In fact, he is quite confident his measures will get the 87,000 required signatures needed to make it onto the ballot in 2014 (if not sooner). He shared with me that he’s gotten eager calls of support from cities throughout Oregon.

“Hood River, The Dalles, Medford, Eugene and Salem — everyone’s like ‘God yes!’ There’s big support for this,” he said.

But despite these early signs of support, Huckaby realizes he’ll face a backlash. “Some people may be upset about it; but that’s what our laws are made from. If you feel there should be a law, you go out and get it.” And despite naysayers, he thinks it will work. “I think it’s going to help a lot. It’s going to help everybody think about it before they break the law.”

Whether you agree with his motives and ideas or not, Huckaby is ready to take the temperature of the state on this issue. “Let’s get it to a vote and see where it goes,” says Huckaby, “Whether it passes or not, it gave everybody their chance to have their say.”


— I’ll be joining Huckaby to talk about this issue on KATU TV’s “Your Voice, Your Vote” program later this week. I’ll share the video and other details once it airs.

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SilkySlim
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SilkySlim

I wish this was on Page 2, tagged as “haters gonna hate.”

basketloverd
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basketloverd

So how is it going to work for us tourists?

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

Everyone coming to Oregon for Cycle Oregon or other bike tourism (STP, Reach the Beach, or just enjoying our growing number of scenic bikeways) would have to buy a license plate, and maybe take a test. Everyone from Washington who commutes by bike into Oregon would also need a license plate, and maybe a test. If you exempt people from out of state, you would never be able to enforce the requirements. Welcome to Oregon, where businesspeople favor less government, except when they are angry.

I can’t wait to see the “fiscal impact” statement for these ballot measures (and it almost certainly will have to be two separate ballot measures, due to the “single subject” rule — licensing people and licensing vehicles are two different things).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Everyone coming to Oregon for Cycle Oregon or other bike tourism (STP, Reach the Beach, or just enjoying our growing number of scenic bikeways) would have to buy a license plate, and maybe take a test. Everyone from Washington who commutes by bike into Oregon would also need a license plate, and maybe a test. If you exempt people from out of state, you would never be able to enforce the requirements. …” Richard Allan

None of what you’re assuming would necessarily be true. It’s a proposal for a new law, one yet to be written, that Huckaby is suggesting. A new law could have any provision the writer, it’s supporters and those voting for it approve of. An exception for tourists and short term out of state people could be provided for in the law. If stopped for a violation, people wouldn’t necessarily have to be cited for not having certification/license, but they might be obliged from that point, to go through a process to get certification/license for future travel by bike in traffic.

Guest
the "other" steph

What would keep the same person from out of state touring Oregon by bike to be stopped again and again within a discrete period of time for failure to have a license? How is this not a punitive measure against bicycling? Forgive me, I fail to understand how this is leveling any playing field.

(In truth, wsbob, I have been previously on the fence about licensing and tipping towards registration, much to the chagrin and occasional shock of friends. This conversation – punctuated by your comment – has tipped me firmly to voluntary registration. Thank you. The fence is rarely comfortable)

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“What would keep the same person from out of state touring Oregon by bike to be stopped again and again within a discrete period of time for failure to have a license? …” the “other” steph

Maybe you could elaborate on the scenario you’re envisioning.

I’d hope a person traveling by bike wouldn’t even be stopped specifically to see if they had bike in traffic certification/license. If they were stopped for a traffic violation and didn’t have bike in traffic certification/license, it doesn’t seem necessary that they be cited for not having that qualification, unless they’d been stopped previously for a violation, been directed to go through the procedure to get it, and declined to do so.

It probably wouldn’t be practical to expect or have one-time, or occasional visitors to Oregon go through a certification/license, but it might be for regular visitors or commuters.

It seems to me that what the public could most reasonably hope to seek from people that travel the road by bike, particularly in heavy traffic along thoroughfares and so forth, is that they more consistently have and use in-traffic techniques that help convey their presence and intentions to other road users, particularly those driving motor vehicles.

And also, with those in-traffic techniques, help counter their inherent vulnerability as road users to motor vehicle traffic.

Joe Suburban
Guest
Joe Suburban

So how are you gonna check if I am a tourist, resident, bike commuter, citizen, illegal alien or just plain alien visitor? Hint: I got 2 ID cards and 3 passports (one is a perfectly legal duplicate of the non-US one) and a life-long valid military photo ID card (not US Army).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Would the type of person you’re using yourself as an example of, not have I.D. with an Oregon license indicating they were a resident? The situation homeless people often find themselves in?

At any rate, as I’ve suggested in other comments, unlike with people that drive, I tend to think people that ride shouldn’t be issued a citation for not having certification/license, unless they’ve had previous bike in traffic violations, been requested to go through the process of getting certification/license, and declined to do that.

Guest
the "other" steph

Hi wsbob, sorry to have been unclear. I was referring not to the endorsement component but to the license plate component. I would assume that, like a motor vehicle, any bicycle could be pulled over for lack of license plate as a primary, not a secondary, offense. This would be true of anyone cycling on the road, regardless of state residency or trip purpose. I just don’t see how this could be practically enforced for Oregon state residents without seeming punitive to out-of-state visitors.

Is that more clear? I haven’t given this a great deal of thought and haven’t researched it, but that is how I would envision its implementation. You?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Hi wsbob, sorry to have been unclear. I was referring not to the endorsement component but to the license plate component. I would assume that, like a motor vehicle, any bicycle could be pulled over for lack of license plate as a primary, not a secondary, offense. …” the “other” steph

Unclear? No problem. My thought, is that an effort shouldn’t be made to require bikes to be registered and have number plates…what are commonly called ‘license plates’, mounted to them, or worn by the person riding the bike. Such a requirement isn’t likely to address overall issues relating to vulnerable road user safety in traffic or aid traffic flow in general.

On the other hand, I think that encouraging the use of bike specific techniques for traveling safely in traffic, by encouraging them to learn and test for skills, could be a positive step forward towards helping reduce the kind of mode travel conflicts that prompted the city to close Wheeler St, and Huckaby to decide to take action. Not just on Broadway, but any other busy thoroughfares where bikes and motor vehicles are used for travel or transport.

matt picio
Guest

Personally, I’d be fine with licensing *everyone* on the public roadways, across the board – but the operator, not the bike. Licensing bicycles doesn’t make things safer, and it’s *definitely* punitive. A car owner might have 2 cars – that’s $86 total cost per year to license. ($86 per car for 2 years) But a bicycle owner can easily have 6 bikes per person. The car owner invests probably $10,000+ *per car*, the bike owner, $500-$1,000.

How can it be viewed as fair when an unpowered vehicle which weighs 1% the weight of a car, travels 1/4 as fast as a car (highway, 1/2 as fast in the city), and costs 5%-10% as much of a car needs a license costing 1/4 of what it costs for a car? The majority of accidents are caused by cars. The majority of insurance payouts are due to cars. The majority of road damage is commercial semis, and #2 is cars. (bike wear to roads is “indistinguishable from weathering”) The majority of the direct costs and indirect costs are borne by *motorized* traffic – so why are we going to regulate bikes when we’re not even properly enforcing motorized traffic?

Nathan
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Nathan

Not to mention that flat rate fees disproportionately affect the poor. $40 dollars for a business owner is probably well below the noise of daily expenses, where it would make or break a month for some people I know.

Licensing a $80 bicycle at this proposed rate seems ridiculous.

Spencer
Guest

This! During college I 15 dollar garage sale bike. No way would I have paid more than double to put a plate on it.

Richard Allan
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Richard Allan

Sorry for offending you, Bob. The article reads: “Huckaby’s measure would require a fee for the endorsement test and would require registration via a license plate on all bicycles in Oregon.” That isn’t “all bicycles owned by Oregonians,” it is “all bicycles in Oregon.” Should I have assumed the ballot measure(s) will NOT reflect the sponsor’s desires?

jim
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jim

They’ll just tatoo your number on your forhead

John Murphy
Guest

The Healdsburg California Chamber of Commerce approves this measure!

9watts
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9watts

Or pedestrians? Are they next?

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

Seriously 9watts, you’re going to trigger Godwin’s Law only 4 posts in? Bad form.

Brad
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Brad

At least he has moved on from stealing ideas from “The Long Emergency”.

9watts
Guest
9watts

O.K. point taken.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Hugh Johnson
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Hugh Johnson

Really dude, bringing up Nazis? A little over dramatic are we? (and tasteless).

brickyardjimmy
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brickyardjimmy

It’s definitely a hyperbolic analogy. On the other hand–I get this feeling that the law is motivated by the same irrational outrage that fuels all dictatorial behavior. People who drive cars and not bikes seem to be totally outraged at what they see as an affront to them. I’ve seen it first hand from both the bike side and the car side. This seems less like a law to create a sensible equality and more like a “I see all these vermin riding around on bikes like they own the place and I want to stick it to them” kind of law.

It makes little sense to me (again as someone who drives both cars and bikes.) I think the outrage is mostly fueled by fantasies as well. Kind of like people who get upset about tort reform and fly into a rage when they hear about the lady that sued McDonald’s over spilling coffee in her lap.

That still gets used as the prototypical example of an out of control lawsuit happy public.

The problem is–like many things people come to believe passionately–it has no basis in fact. The McDonald’s lady was actually badly injured when handed a coffee that had been heated to scalding levels. Unable to continue holding onto the cup, which would have burned her skin had she kept gripping it, she dropped it into her lap. The result was 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her pelvic region.

But the reaction has been to take away the ability from ordinary people to sue a corporation.

Similarly, this proposed law seems like a fantasy-fueled persecution of bike riders. This guy has a bee in his bonnet about bikes and just wants to put his foot down on them. Which, apart from the difference in gravity, isn’t all that different from what fuels the passionate anger of a nazi (or modern day neo-nazi guy or rabid Tea Partier or any number of other people who want to impose themselves on others.)

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

And what about those of us in Vancouver? Will I have to get a license for every bike I ever plan to ride to PDX? At least I won’t have to register my younger kids’ bikes… I would assume out of staters would get a pass.

Oliver
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Oliver

You do not get a pass. No pass for you.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Not that I support either operator licenses nor bike plates/tags, but if (huge gigantic “if”) something like this were to go through, the only financially, pragmatic and logistically feasible way I can see this happening is that there is a single operator license and plate. What I mean is you would get a bike operator’s license that looks like a plate that you could transfer to whatever bike you are riding. It’s ridiculous that we’d expect every bike to have a separate license. It’s simply untenable.

Pete
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Pete

I’ll continue to ride unlicensed in Oregon, as I doubt this will pass. If it does, I’ll simply pay whatever fines get levied on me, in the off-chance I’m caught. But don’t worry, this has as much chance of passing as a sales tax, especially if the costs to the taxpayer of administering it are revealed during the campaign.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…this has as much chance of passing as a sales tax, especially if the costs to the taxpayer of administering it are revealed during the campaign.” Pete

That depends on what will be called for in the actual proposal for a law…which according to this bikeportland story is in the process of being written, rather than already written and before people so they can look at and study it. What bikeportland readers have before them here from Huckaby, are general ideas he has about bikes in traffic, and about skills of people that ride bikes being compatible with the traffic demands made of road users today.

If the proposal were for a relatively simple knowledge, skill development, testing and licensing/certification requirement, it might have a chance of getting somewhere in Salem. Certainly is likely to be far more popular amongst the public than a sales tax ever has been in Oregon.

Pete
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Pete

“Certainly is likely to be far more popular amongst the public than a sales tax ever has been in Oregon.”

And far less beneficial, but that’s another story. I think someone else mentioned this, but if it winds up on the ballot it has to have a financial impact statement. There’s a myriad of evidence of communities getting rid of both mandatory and voluntary bike licensing programs because they don’t pay for themselves. I certainly don’t put it past the voting public not to apply logic, though – heck, we just paid another $30M for a stadium that passed ballot by saying it would cost our city nothing.

From an enforcement standpoint I would have no qualms breaking this ‘law’, paying whatever fines might be levied on me in the off-chance an officer tickets me in the rural parts of Oregon I tend to ride. It’s been my general experience that police officers tend to know very little about bicycle law (including several of my friends who are also avid cyclists). I’ll take my chances that law enforcement where I ride in Oregon pay little heed to enforcing this – I know them, and they know where their bread is buttered.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

In the manner it’s been presented, Oregonians don’t seem to feel a sales tax would be beneficial at all, so they’ve voted it down time and again. Money isn’t the objective of every law. Hopefully, Huckaby will choose to not make taking people’s money a key part of whatever proposal for a law he’s working on.

There seems to be a lot of consternation, aggravation and anxiety over people that travel the road by bike, at least part of which, some of the people traveling by bike are directly responsible for.

A law that would take a first step towards having people that bike be tested for in-traffic travel by bike, something on the order of testing for in-traffic travel by motor vehicle that people seeking to drive must submit to, could possibly turn out to be seen by the public as very beneficial…even if it doesn’t involve as much cash as a sales tax does.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Money may not be the objective, but there’s no question a bicycle licensing law will require new administration with an impact to the taxpayer, regardless of how it’s written. There’s the cost of getting a new system going before fees could even be collected, even if fees could cover ongoing costs. Similar to the costs of not having a sales tax, which push Oregon to have higher than average property and income taxes.

I’d have no problem being tested by bike exactly as many times as I’ve been tested to drive: once (about 30 years ago). Huckaby’s main premise is that cyclists disobey rules because they are ignorant, and forcing them to educate themselves will dissolve the city of all of the infrastructure issues caused by cyclists needing to be protected from their own ignorance – that’s how I read it. He seems convinced the Oregon Driver’s Test is adequate in educating both drivers and cyclists as to the rules of the road, and he’s even said that he thinks most cyclists are unlicensed (and therefore uneducated). So the metric here is that car-bike accidents should go down statewide with the newly-educated Oregon cycling population, since the accidents are in theory being caused by uneducated bikers.

If this law passes the public will see a very poor return on investment, and I’m willing to bet the needle on accidents won’t move (and yes I use the term “accident” loosely).

9watts
Guest
9watts

Excellent summary, Pete. Thanks.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Whatever program or law…which of yet, any firm idea of is yet far, far from having been presented… Huckaby’s efforts might help bring about, will likely cost something; what the cost would be depends on what’s proposed. Most everybody would likely be interested in the lowest cost possible that would make any possibly good ideas be a success.

In the excerpt of your comment below about what your impression of Huckaby’s main premise is, I think you may be exaggerating, over-simplifying, or misinterpreting his thoughts on people that use bikes for transportation. Not to say that this would be intentionally so on your part. At this point, everything Huckaby has presented to the public about this subject has been rather informal, off the cuff remarks, subject to a wide range of interpretation.

Apart from anything else, while many others have done…nothing…to help derive means for some certainty that people riding bikes in traffic are consistently prepared to ride competently through something as relatively simple as rudimentary familiarization with basic ‘bike in-traffic’ skills and testing for knowledge of them, Huckaby has at least provoked some public discussion about the need for this sort of thing.

“…Huckaby’s main premise is that cyclists disobey rules because they are ignorant, and forcing them to educate themselves will dissolve the city of all of the infrastructure issues caused by cyclists needing to be protected from their own ignorance – that’s how I read it. He seems convinced the Oregon Driver’s Test is adequate in educating both drivers and cyclists as to the rules of the road, and he’s even said that he thinks most cyclists are unlicensed (and therefore uneducated). So the metric here is that car-bike accidents should go down statewide with the newly-educated Oregon cycling population, since the accidents are in theory being caused by uneducated bikers. …” Pete

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Most everybody would likely be interested in the lowest cost possible that would make any possibly good ideas be a success.”

As I am doubtful that good ideas will come from this, I would not include myself in your ‘most everybody’ camp.

“Huckaby has at least provoked some public discussion about the need for this sort of thing.”

There is no need for this sort of thing.
There is great need for a different kind of thing, but the discussion he has initiated, though it has led to some excellent critiques here on bikeportland, will very unlikely lead to discussion of those different things that might become policy, in part because some are too eager to accept the terms of debate laid out by Huckaby.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I see where you’re coming from (and appreciate the discourse), but I don’t entirely agree. Yes it’s true we don’t know what any ballot measure(s) look like yet, but aside from us pontificating here on BP (aka preaching to the choir) I see Bob as stirring up no more intelligent debate on the subject on the whole than a KATU or Oregonian comments section after one of us gets hit. Since reporting on this began Bob’s stated aim has remained two-fold: 1) holding cyclists accountable for breaking laws, and 2) educating us on the laws. I don’t see that I’m oversimplifying anything, though I admit to reaching for a conclusion in how one might measure success in these goals.

As far as costs go, people won’t want the lowest possible, they’ll want ‘free’. Bike owners won’t want the law at all, and non-cyclists will want us to “pay our own way.” (OK, maybe that’s oversimplification).

The only way I see this as having any beneficial outcome is to put whatever is proposed (which we agree we don’t know what it is yet) under the same microscope as a business proposal. What are the upfront costs to whom? What are the stated goals – in measurable terms? What are the metrics for success, and how and how often are they administered? When are the upfront costs recouped (ROI projection), and when and how are the rules reviewed/improved/removed?

Other than that talk is cheap – even in the form of ballot measures. Rubber side down my friend!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Re; Pete http://bikeportland.org/2012/09/05/bob-huckaby-moves-forward-on-statewide-bike-registration-licensing-measures-76881#comment-3205214

I think it’s at least somewhat of a ‘wait and see’ situation, as far as how Huckaby may present his views about bikes as traffic and questions of registration/licensing, in the future, as compared to the way he’s presented the so far. As word seems to be that any chance of a proposal he comes up with being on the ballot may be many months out, he may change, moderate his views some. He may get up to speed on the wonky details of active transportation issues and people, which he seems not to be now.

I say that based on my impressions of what I’ve been reading about him. Although he’s apparently somewhere in his 50’s or later and has some business smarts, those smarts don’t seem to include being savvy relative to active bike issues. That may account for his having made various statements that have set him up to be easy game for people that resent having to even consider the idea that some means might be put in place to have people become more skilled to ride in traffic. And easy game for people that love ridiculing someone with views different than their own.

As for costs of whatever measures he might propose, definitely…people will want ‘free’ if that can be had; and that’s what he should go for. I want ‘free’, but lacking that, the lowest cost possible. All depends on what he attempts to put together. If whatever that is turns out to be some big bureaucratic fee grabbing, cost prohibitive item…which his detractors most likely hope it will be…then it will most likely sink like a stone. If on the other hand, he works to assemble some kind of modest, low level program whose benefits to the public are great enough that the public is willing to assume the costs to make ‘free’ to individual members of the public, he could have an idea with some legs.

And also…the initiative process; unless the details of his idea in what goes on the ballot is very, very good and has very powerful appeal to the people, I guess I feel they would fail through the initiative process. Seems to me the legislative process is better…lots more intelligent, highly skilled people working on what the proposal actually calls for, before it even goes to the vote. The weeks and months to come with regards to Huckaby’s efforts could be very interesting.

Goretex Guy
Guest
Goretex Guy

Well, look how well licensing has worked with cars! THEY never break the law.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If everybody followed the law, you wouldn’t have the safety problem”

Ha ha. Good one, Bob.

I can’t get over the underlying vindictiveness. Perhaps we are blinded here at bikeportland into thinking that the problem was and still is people driving cars not paying attention, or realizing that the machine they’re piloting is easily able to maim or kill someone, and does almost every day. Wanda Cortese: failure to maintain her lane anyone?

How is this ridiculous and unfortunately predictable backlash from Huckaby going to make one whit of difference to safety, his chief claim?

Not that it will succeed, but it will no doubt fan the flames. Oh, wait, it already has:

“‘Hood River, The Dalles, Medford, Eugene and Salem — everyone’s like ‘God yes!’ There’s big support for this,’ he said.”

peejay
Guest
peejay

Good luck, Bob. Be prepared to lose a lot of money and time, for no result, except angering a lot of people.

JRB
Guest
JRB

I hope you are right Peejay. I never sign ballot measure petitions because I think it is far too easy to get a measure on the Oregon ballot. There’s a reason we elect legislators who hire staff to help them do in depth analysis of the pros and cons of any bill before voting to enact a law.

I don’t trust John and Jane Q Public to spend the time needed to understand the issues and make an informed decision on bike licensing or registration measures. I fear instead a knee jerk emotional reaction as I’ve seen on other ill-conceived measures that made it onto the ballot and were passed by voters. We all know first hand the animosity out there towards cyclists and funding for cycling infrastructure.

I guess I am just not as sanguine about this as you and will watch this issue closely.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Which business does he own? I am curious because it informs how he might be impacted by the closure. It looks like it is first-inc, is it? Seems odd if it is because they claim to be minority owned, and in his TV interview he doesn’t appear to be a minority…

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Looks like he does own First-Inc, and I guess they do qualify, not sure how the certification program works:

http://www.1-st.com/minority_owned.htm

They install furniture at other locations, I can’t see how the closure will have any real impact on his business since access is still maintained via other streets.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

And just so you know, Huckaby says Wheeler isn’t the reason he’s doing this. It’s a symbol of the problem, but not his prime motivator he says.

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

“He says.”

Yep, pretty much a coincidence that a man running a business on Wheeler decides to push a couple of “punish cycling” ballot measures. Sure.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

That seems disingenuous beyond belief.

SJ
Guest
SJ

So he was thinking of doing this before Wheeler?

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I am guessing they have not updated their website in awhile, as this certification is expired and so are the contractors licenses displayed for both Oregon and Washington…

http://www.1-st.com/what's_new.htm

matt picio
Guest

Their license is in good standing, the jpg on the website is just an old copy. License can be verified here.

Dan V
Guest
Dan V

On the website, he is listed as a member of a group in the Cherokee Nation (if I’m reading this right), and I think I saw that he owns 51% of the company.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Bjorn,

He owns First Inc., which is just down the road from the Wheeler/broadway intersection. In the past I labeled him as “a business owner” or “Business owner Bob Huckaby” but I stopped doing that because it didn’t seem fair to label him. Putting “business owner” in front of someone’s name to me is similar to calling people who ride bikes “bicyclists”.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
Kiel Johnson

How about Bob Huckaby Job Creator?

Nick
Guest
Nick

I like people-first language, but it seems weird to not mention him owning the business there by Wheeler at all.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Nick (and others),

In thinking about it more, I decided to add the fact that he is a local business owner to the story. Thanks.

Spiffy
Guest

white people are now becoming a minority in the US…

ConcordiaCyclist
Guest
ConcordiaCyclist

And they’re going down kicking and screaming. Ugly sight.

Eric
Guest
Eric

The reason I don’t make a full stop at stop signs has nothing to do with ignorance of the law.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Ooooh… a new stick law enforcement will use to beat the homeless and minorities.

Nice.

For equity issues alone, this is a terrible, terrible idea.

Kim D
Guest
Kim D

Yeah, so the PPB are going to start pulling over and ticketing all the homeless folk that get around by bike are they? Or 6 year olds? Or out-of-town folks that brought *their* bikes here to ride, instead of renting?? If there isn’t 100% compliance with the law with auto drivers, how does he think that licensing and “educating” bicycle riders is going to do???

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

Portland, OR (September 8, 2015) In an enforcement sting coordinated with Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff, the Portland Police Bureau today cited 214 elementary school students for riding bikes with no license plates or expired registration. Police Chief Mike Reese stated: “We felt it was best to crack down on these little criminals on the first day of classes. Maybe they’ll get the message and ask their parents to drive them to school, as God intended.”

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

If Huckaby wants cyclists to follow the law then he should advocate for a systematic rewrite of car-centric statutes. I am not going to blindly follow laws designed for 2-4 ton hunks of metal. These laws are often not applicable to cyclists and when they are, often have little or no effect on public safety. Civil disobedience is an essential part of democratic government!

dennis
Guest

The issue, is that this will do nothing to level the playing field. Cars can break the law all day long, endangering life-and-limb of cyclists and pedestrians. It’s been proven, that if you want to get away with murder, make sure the victim is on a bike, and you’re in a car. You’ll get away scott free every time. Just be sober and don’t hit-n-run. Remember these words “I didn’t see him/her”.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

“He/She came out of nowhere!”

bikelikemad
Guest
bikelikemad

If he doesn’t feel safe with me riding a bike, I’m sure he’ll love it when I climb back behind the wheel…

Dan
Guest
Dan

“Level the playing field”! AHAHAHAHA!!

Shane
Guest

I’m wondering what age this will reach? Will my kids have to get a license when they are pedaling on a trail-a-bike? Riding on an Xtracycle, bike seat, or in the trailer? Riding alongside me?
What about 10 year olds biking to school on their own?
Or is it only 16 and above who have to get this bike license?
Also of note…we’d have to pay for our 100 count bike education fleet too ($40 a bike would average the cost to $1,000 per year for our program currently and that’s just one of three districts in the area we are working to implement the program).

This would also assume that if you have a drivers license you know how to operate a bike legally and safely. I don’t think that’s the case. I think the energy could be better spent putting more active transportation education into the existing licensing procedures. Something like the Mobility Education system that the BTA (and others) have talked about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobility_education

Maybe Mr. Huckaby would like to put his energy into programs like the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Education programs we are working to implement into the schools so that we actually educate people on the legal and safe way to walk and bike AND encourage that behavior rather than discouraging it with something so restrictive and bureaucratic as this measure. Fund funding and support for that rather than this stick of a measure.

jd
Guest
jd

I saw a little three-year-old thug getting pushed around on training wheels just this weekend! There really oughtta be a law discouraging that sort of behavior.

Guest
the "other" steph

That was precisely what I was thinking, Shane, thank you. Aside from the myriad issues already raised, potentially asking 3-year olds to take a road test to ride their bicycles in kid-friendly ways is beyond the pale. This is not to cast aspersions on Mr. Huckaby, and I appreciate both Jonathan and Bob for taking the time to sit down for a frank chat. That said, there are plenty of details and potential ramifications that Mr. Huckaby has not considered.

If Mr. Huckaby is looking to advocate for a bicycle endorsement, is now the time to (again) suggest an RV endorsement as a preliminary step? That would be awesome! We managed to get it on the “consider” list of ODOT’s Transportation Safety Action Plan; how about starting at the commercial-size vehicle that requires no commercial endorsement? Just a thought and something towards the top of my personal wishlist.

All of that said, I would personally welcome a voluntary license program. The 1899 voluntary Bicycle Tax funded a number of significant streets in Portland, if memory serves: Division, Vancouver, 12th Ave., and Macadam, among a few others. (It would be awesome if they all had remained bicycle-friendly).

are
Guest

plus one, shane.

huckaby’s proposal appears to exempt holders of oregon driver licenses but does not include (yet, at this early stage) any component for requiring someone examining for that license to know anything about sharing roads with bicycles.

i recently took the license exam, and noticed that the mechanism for randomizing questions allows the mix of pedestrian questions to drop rather low. and i did not see anything at all about bicycles. they need to add some questions, and they need to change the randomizing mechanism so these questions are always prominent.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

THIS, 10,000%:

“This would also assume that if you have a drivers license you know how to operate a bike legally and safely. I don’t think that’s the case. I think the energy could be better spent putting more active transportation education into the existing licensing procedures.”

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“This would also assume that if you have a drivers license you know how to operate a bike legally and safely. I don’t think that’s the case. I think the energy could be better spent putting more active transportation education into the existing licensing procedures.” Kristen

Good idea on putting more active transportation education into existing licensing procedures…I presume you mean, for people getting driver’s licenses. Unfortunately, people choosing to ride bikes for transportation, but not get a driver’s license, wouldn’t be obliged to learn the material and be tested for their knowledge of it.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

It would also assume that by having an Oregon drivers license that you know how to safely operate a motor vehicle which is questionable at best

Rol
Guest
Rol

The “playing field” (a place where people on different teams compete against each other BTW) will never be “level” unless you can find some way to make 250 lbs (person & bike) the same as 4,000 lbs (car). Maybe he can start a physics petition to change the physics laws.

And of course the question remains, why wasn’t he this big “advocate” for “bike safety” before they closed one of the roads to his business?

takeaspin22
Guest
takeaspin22

Bob doesn’t understand that the “playing field” has historically been tilted at about an 89 degree angle in favor of car and truck drivers. Now it’s down to about 80 degrees.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Indeed. And the laws are most certainly not the same for motor vehicle operators and bike riders. There’s a huge overlap, but there’s significant differences in the laws (both in civic laws and in the laws of physics).

Ethan
Guest
Ethan

Clearly we have a man here who is in desperate need of a few weeks in the saddle. Perhaps then he’d have a very different take on the definition of a “level playing field”.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Hey, that’s not the situation – some of his best friends ride bicycles! He understands, he’s just doing it for the good of us all. How magnanimous!

David
Guest
David

So this “would mandate a bicycle law test for all adults who don’t already have a driver’s license.”

And it factors in no additional education/testing for auto drivers on how to operate a car in a city with above average cycling?

Idiotic.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

My first thought was, “well, it’s a good thing if it generates more conversations and more attention…”

…but then I though that it’s likely to generate much more anti-bike and anti-bike-people rhetoric, and to embolden those who are already possessed of a twisted mentality that tells people that it’s just easy (and heck, it’s funny!) to vent personal hostility by endangering people on bikes via harassing them in traffic.

SJ
Guest
SJ

Laws exist to eliminate cell phone use by drivers. How is that working?

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

This is so mind bogglingly stupid I don’t even know where to begin. Never mind the fact that this will do nothing at all to improve the relationship and accident rate between cars and cyclists, it is also completely unenforceable and totally unrealistic.

How are you going to require a tourist to take a course? The state is actively trying to encourage people from out of state to come to Oregon and ride cross country. If I were to get “pulled over” what would be the punishment if I simply responded, “oh, I’m visiting from California”? Heck, what would be the punishment if I stated, “oh I’m borrowing this bike from a friend who lives in California and I’m giving it back next week”?

How are you going to enforce something like this for all the people who ride their bikes once a year at events like the Bridge Pedal or the Naked Bike Ride?

The bureaucratic nightmare a law like this would create is just totally and completely not worth the time and money. You might as well require a registration fee and license every time I buy a new pair of shoes.

If Huckabey was really interested in making a difference he would spend his money on carrots instead of sticks. Why doesn’t he spend the money on free workshops for cyclists? Why not donate the money to the BTA, an organization that has made safety a top priority? Why not donate the money to PBOT to re-work the dangerous intersection near his place of business so accidents don’t happen?

What Huckabey and his supporters always fail to realize is that the playing field will never be even. Why? Because when you get behind the wheel you are taking responsibility of a vehicle with the same destructive force as a howitzer. As gun owners often argue, that means YOU the operator have the ultimate responsibility. I agree we must all share the road but it is the DRIVER who far more often than not has the power to kill.

Geebs
Guest
Geebs

Eye roll. Also, a second-ing on the tourists complication. So, he’s going after a ballot measure based on his stereotypes? I know anecdotal evidence doesn’t equal data, but the least law-abiding/most-unfortunately-overly-intimate-with-cars cyclists I know are also licensed drivers.

If this were a genuine scheme to reform state laws/statutes to make the road safer for everyone, I could possibly get behind it, but I’m unconvinced by what I’m reading here. Simply requiring licenses and testing isn’t really going to change much. The folks that run stops signs (especially when it’s unsafe to do so), jump lights, and otherwise don’t respect the rules of the road aren’t doing it because they’re ignorant, and I don’t think the police really have the bandwidth to make sure they’re accountable. I see a kid most mornings who sails through red lights, and a system of licenses and license plates won’t solve that (what am I going to do, call them in and report them? I see just as many cars sail through red lights with equal impunity daily, and no one is calling in those infractions that endanger other road users to a greater degree than that nitwit).

Simply instituting bicycle licensing is silly. Really silly, and will not solve the safety problems exacerbated by poorly-engineered roads (which is exactly, as Jonathan Maus has pointed out before, what the Flint/Wheeler/Broadway intersection is). Mostly, all I can see it doing is over-stressing an already bursting-at-the-seams DMV and adding another law with disparate effects based on wealth, privilege and education (I expect most judges in Portland would much more interested in the case of a DUI driver with a suspended license trundling around the city than someone who is unhoused and couldn’t afford to license the rusty huffy they use to get around).

andy
Guest
andy

Any volunteers for monitoring the drivers of First, Inc., to document how many traffic laws they break during the course of a day?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Ooh. That’s a good one. Of course, we’d be doing it as concerned citizens. It would have nothing to do with a punitive or vindictive move.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

When I said the site wasn’t updated I meant that I figured they were probably all renewed, but their website doesn’t indicate that. Sounds like they are up to date.

velvetackbar
Guest
velvetackbar

yeah. I asked Jonathan to remove my post: I didn’t realize that it contained a residential address until after i had posted it.

jd
Guest
jd

If he wants us all to follow the same laws, he’d better enjoy going 10 m.p.h. on the freeway. I am taking the lane.

Or could this be really about him hating cyclists and wanting fewer of them?

stephry
Guest
stephry

His company recently put together my cubicle… seriously! Did a good job too. I’m not sure how effective this plan is though. Plus I wonder if administrative costs of registering and testing and licensing bikes would outweigh the fees they would collect. I think his is an emotional reaction to N Wheeler and if it goes to the vote I can’t imagine it passing. I like his tenacity though. Like a pit bull. Gwow Gwow

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

Nice try Mr Huckaby

pdxbikeworm
Guest
pdxbikeworm

Where would you mount the license plate? Can it be transferred from one bike to another? If the issues are with rider education, wouldn’t it make more sense to have some kind of endorsement, like a motorcycle endorsement? What about children under 16 years of age?

Ross Williams
Guest
Ross Williams

The truth is this idea is a non-starter. He will not get it on the ballot without spending a ton of money. And it won’t pass if he does. My guess is once he tries to fill in the details, he will decide to find some other method of pay back for the Wheeler closing.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Correct. And even if it made it to the ballot and passed, it would likely be overturned by the court system.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Can you really imagine it passing. What percentage of people in this state have at least one bike in their garage. I would venture that over 50% of people have at least a bike they every once in a great while ride. Now EVERY one of those people has to go out and spend $40? I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

Seems like this is going to cause a lot of headlines, hissy fits and then completely die. So many of the already mentioned reasons (previous failed attempts, tourism, neighboring states, loss of bicyle related revenue, etc.) point to this fundamentally flawed idea going nowhere. This is going to sap a ton of attention and resources away from the issues that really matter. Am I wrong? Do we really have something to worry about if we just ignore him and keep doing more important work?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Travis,

I think it’s important to not ignore this stuff. That’s why I’m taking time to engage Bob, hear him out, offer my input, and explain his rationale to the greater public.

Whether you agree with his ideas or not, I think the perceived (and real) lack of accountability people on bicycles have compared to people in cars will continue to be an issue.

Portland is a unique situation. We have more urban bicycling on an auto-centric system than any place in the world. This situation is causing these controversial issues to come up. Like Bob himself realizes, if we had infrastructure like Amsterdam, we might not have to have this conversation. But we don’t have that infrastructure yet. Right now, we have a system that throws bicycle traffic right in the mix with auto traffic and we have a regulatory system (ORS and DMV) that is extremely lacking in how it deals with users of that system. For people on bikes, the fact that the same level of regulation isn’t required will continue to stoke anger and resentment at people who don’t bike and/or who don’t understand/care about/like the idea of biking.

To me, the answer is to force politicians to wake up and start making the infrastructure reflect the rhetoric that’s been adopted in city planning documents and that’s spouted at press conferences and ribbon-cuttings.

In the meantime, I think we ignore people like Bob Huckaby at our own peril.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Like Bob himself realizes, if we had infrastructure like Amsterdam, we might not have to have this conversation. But we don’t have that infrastructure yet. …” maus/bikeportland

This is true. It could be a very long time…years…decades… before bike specific infrastructure such as the Netherlands has, becomes consistently available even near heavily traveled thoroughfares in the metro area. Interim remedies are essential. Increased road user knowledge and skill sets would likely be the comparatively easiest and least negative of all possible, realistic remedies to helping motor vehicles and bikes become more complimentary in road use together.

Burk
Guest
Burk

Really like how you are reporting on this Jonathan. I actually like the idea of exploring this. I can’t imagine it will get very far as a ballot measure but the discussion will reach people who are unaware of just how many bike infrastructure issues cyclists deal with every day.

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

Meant to reply to Jonathan’s post. Sorry to post this twice.

“In the meantime, I think we ignore people like Bob Huckaby at our own peril.”

I believe that and believe he will easily find enough support to get the required signatures. After that, I don’t know but I’m trying to understand what his “talking points” would be (more than just rhetoric I hope) and their fundamental flaws. I don’t have answers, just questions.

What I wonder is why motor vehicles are licensed (registered?) and why drivers are licensed? Certainly most citizens have lost sight of the reasons. Furthermore, would those reasons be valid for bicycles and their drivers? If not, why not? Also, what do the license and registration fees fund? Preparing answer to these questions would be a sound idea.

I believe the main issue is one of open travel on our roads. Would requiring a bicycle registration fee restrict “open travel”? Would the same apply to licensing? I am finding this link interesting:

http://www.bicyclinglife.com/EffectiveAdvocacy/TheRightToTravel.htm

9watts
Guest
9watts

Tacoma,
thanks for that link. I enjoyed it. This part in particular:

“The most appropriate response to unacceptable levels of pedestrian and cyclist crashes is to improve the competence of all road users and improve the roadways to better facilitate safe sharing. After these efforts have been exhausted, if human-powered access to some destinations is still not acceptably safe then it is motoring that should be discouraged in those places, not walking or cycling.”

Improving competence can and should be distinguished clearly from licensing. As I posted in an early Huckaby-inspired discussion here, the distinction between certification and licensing may be helpful. It was buried quite a few levels deep so I’ll link to it:

http://bikeportland.org/2012/08/24/opinion-licensing-debate-should-focus-on-reform-not-revenge-76495#comment-3186946
A license is a permission to do something that otherwise is forbidden….A license is given by the government, and is a government privilege.
Certification is a statement or declaration that one has completed a course of study, passed an examination, or otherwise met specified criteria for certification.
Certification is not a permission to act, but rather a statement of completion or qualification.

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

Important clarification re: licensing vs. certification. Thank you.

Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

“We have more urban bicycling on an auto-centric system than any place in the world.”

This really sums up the situation quite well. It’s based much more in reality than saying Portland is “bicycle friendly” or some sort of bike Mecca. Thanks for the response, maybe this will lead to some good conversations.

I’m appreciative of your diplomatic approach, level headedness and willingness to go beyond “us/them” thinking with these contentious issues.

Cheers man.

Vivian
Guest
Vivian

A licensing process for bicycles puts the greatest amount of burden upon those in our society who can least afford it and are least literate in navigating bureaucratic channels. The equity implications of this run deep for many low-income, immigrant, housing and job insecure communities, whom clearly are not of any concern nor thought to Mr. Huckaby.

Pete
Guest
Pete

You mean like voter ID?

matt picio
Guest

Except that most people understand why the right to vote is important – not as many people understand why the need for non-motorized travel is so important, including many of the disenfranchised individuals who would be most impacted by any registration requirements.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I feel like I’m reading The Onion.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

“Key to Huckaby’s perspective is the belief that a large percentage of people riding bikes in Oregon don’t already have a driver’s license”

Soooo…. his whole argument is based on a easily disproven false premise?

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Hey, facts have no place in this discussion!

davemess
Guest
davemess

Seriously I did a double take on that one. I honestly don’t know a person in the city who doesn’t have a drivers license and bikes (even occasionally recreationally). Granted that’s not a very big sample size, but I think he’s really going out on a limb there.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Jonathon, do you think you could put a poll on the front page to check out this “fact” that most of us do not have driver’s licenses. I would love to get some data on this and it seems like this site would attract a lot of cyclists to poll.

davemess
Guest
davemess

apologies Jonathan (don’t know why I always mess it up).

Fiona
Guest

I personally don’t have a driving license and I bike (not in Portland albeit), but I’ve learned the rules of the road – why? Because it massively extends my life expectancy!

are
Guest

depends what he means by “large.” any percentage over about three or five could be considered rather significant in terms of actual numbers on the street.

Spiffy
Guest

bicycles are not a danger on the roads, it’s the cars that make the roads dangerous… very few people have been killed by bicycles, pedestrians, and horse-drawn carriage…

there’s already infrastructure that exists in the entire city that was built for bicycles, it’s called roads… and automobile drivers should be eternally grateful that we let them menace us on them… we should ban all automobiles from the roads (because we know that bicyclists are the reason the government built them for us) and then start creating specific infrastructure for automobiles…

I would love to level the playing field… all vehicles must now go under 35 mph and weigh less than 200 lbs…

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

I’d like to hear Mr. Huckaby explain how a license will make riders obey the laws…right after he sees the video of that big white truck making an illegal right turn onto the street that has been closed to right turns.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Requiring some age groups of people that ride bikes to acquire specific skills and ability for riding in traffic amongst motor vehicles is a fairly reasonable proposal. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the metro areas and across the entire state, there turns out to be a lot of solid support for a well crafted proposal for seeking to accomplish this.

I’d guess a requirement that people register their bikes and mount a license plate…something almost inevitably awkward and ugly…to bikes would probably not get very solid support and would be an obstacle to any proposal for advancing efforts to have people riding bikes in traffic be better skilled and certified/licensed for that type road use.

If seeking to have people that bike in traffic be better prepared for that type road use stands any chance of at least some serious discussion as a possible proposal for a bill to become law, it should probably not be in proposed in the same bill as one calling for bikes to be registered and have license plates mounted to them.

Someone venturing a controversial idea from the perspective Huckaby is, in the motor vehicle-bike context using sports references such as ‘level the playing field’, isn’t a good choice. It would have been better if he’d thought carefully before deciding to use that kind of metaphor before participating in this interview with bikeportland.

I think many fair minded people across Oregon will agree Huckaby is right about what this bikeportland story excerpt says is his view:

“…The goal for Huckaby is simple: He feels there’s a big traffic safety problem brewing due to the growing number of people riding bikes in Portland (and across the state) who have never passed a test on how to ride safely and follow existing traffic laws. …” maus/bikeportland

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Another reason we need to reform the initiative system. Why should Mr. Huckaby be able to put a law like this before the voters just because he’s a business owner and probably relatively well-connected to wealthy people? If most Oregonians got it in their heads to put something on the ballot, they would be utterly unable to gather the money required to get the signatures needed. The initiative process has become a tool for the wealthy rather than a haven of direct democracy.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Why should Mr. Huckaby be able to put a law like this before the voters just because he’s a business owner and probably relatively well-connected to wealthy people? …” Alex Reed

Don’t be so hasty in concluding the idea is on the ballot. It’s along way from that. I don’t know much about the procedure, but I believe…even if he on his own had the money to fund the effort, the proposal would still have to pass a lot of scrutiny before it ever became a proposal before the House of Reps or the Senate in Salem.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

My understanding is that if you can gather X number of signatures, you can bypass the House and Senate entirely and put it on the ballot. If it goes on the ballot and gets passed, it has the force of a constitutional amendment. In general, the major determinant of whether a given cause can gather X number of signatures is how much money the cause can raise for paid signature gathers. For example, Jeff Bernards (I think that’s his name?) tried to get a studded tire ban placed on the ballot and failed (in my opinion) largely due to lack of funding.

And no, Mr. Huckaby clearly hasn’t gathered all the signatures yet to get this on the ballot. But I think the reason it’s even a possibility is because he has access to money.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“My understanding is that if you can gather X number of signatures, you can bypass the House and Senate entirely and put it on the ballot. …” Alex Reed

Yeah…as Richard Allan notes below, that’s the initiative process. Do a search, check it out online. That process has a long storied history in Oregon. It takes a lot of signatures and money to get a proposal on the ballot that way. I’m going to say off hand that not many proposals actually get made into law that way.

I read in this bikeportland story that Huckaby “…has hired a lawyer who is currently writing up the ballot language. …” to write a proposal for a law, but not that he’s going to use the initiative process to get it on the ballot. Personally, I’d hope he wouldn’t use the IP to bring a proposal for a law before the public, although sometimes it seems, the IP process can bring about extended public discussion that the legislative process often seems not to…and with the ideas Huckaby has in mind, extended public discussion would be very good.

There should be a lot of grass roots exchange of ideas about the irrefutable reality of bikes as transportation being a mode of travel more and more people will be using, and how best to make mixed travel mode use of roads work out within the infrastructure situation present today.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Huh, I read “ballot language” as a clear sign that he was intending this effort to be at the ballot box AKA the voting booth. I wouldn’t have any (fairness/process) problem with Mr. Huckaby advocating for a law like this at the State Legislature. Not that I think it would be a good law, but the initiative process is not the place to decide this question.

matt picio
Guest

Right – the problem with *this* initiative is it may have enough anti-bike *voluntary* signature gatherers that paid gatherers are unnecessary. There is also the possibility that business interests not favorable to bikes may spend the money to do it – including businesses at the national level who want to give Portand a black eye. (no, that’s not paranoia – there are plenty of historical examples of similar behavior)

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

The whole point of the initiative process is that it never becomes a “proposal” before the state legislature. If he drafts an inititative, gets a caption and summary from the Secretary of State, and collects enough valid signatures within the allotted time, the measures goes directly to the voters.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

And another thing… all these vindictive drivers (and I drive too, most every day!) that have called Huckaby to express support for this licensing scheme, I sort of doubt they’ll be for it when they finally think it through and realize they need to pony up all the same time and dollars when they want to drag their bikes out of the shed once a year to ride around with their kid, or take everyone’s bikes to Sunriver, etc.

Have fun with THAT – this will impact everyone, and even people who don’t relate to those of us who cycle a lot will have a hard time swallowing this pill when it impacts their yearly family vacation or whatever.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

A better idea, since so many bicycle riders are also auto drivers, would be to have a comprehensive bicycle section in the current licensing test. Then, auto drivers would also know what the bicycle laws/rights of the road are.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Hello!

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

And, require everyone to re-take at least the written portion of the license test when they renew. Change the renewal period to two years, instead of the current 8.

Heck, they could even make the test open-book, like the notary test is. Make the renewal test 100 questions, covering all aspects of road use in Oregon.

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

I wonder how many of his employees ride a bicycle to work.

scdurs
Guest
scdurs

I’d like the owners of all of the bicycle shops in Portland to weigh in with their concerns about how bicycle licensing will affect their business. People will think twice about becoming cyclists with the additional testing and licensing required. People will think twice about buying another bicycle and just use the only one they have for commuting/recreational/touring bicycling. Think of the lost sales to all those who dream of owning an additional bike but don’t want the additional licensing expense. Think of all those kids who will never get to ride a bike until they are 16 (if that’s how the law is written), and the loss of all those bicycle sales.

Just think if Oregon ever tried to have a motor vehicle licensing program like Washington used to where your fee was based on the value of your car. The auto dealers would stand up and scream bloody murder and this would go nowhere.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yes, I agree – would the bike industry here in Portland be larger than the office furniture installation industry? I wonder which has more clout to influence others?

JL
Guest
JL

I would be happy if the bike shops in all of oregon ( and all helmet manufacturers) made a push for all motor vehicle occupants be required to wear a helmet.
It would be as easy and cost effective as monitoring the seat belt law and safe many of our loved ones lives.

Would you be willing to look into that option Jonathan?

Allan Folz
Guest
Allan Folz

Yawn. It’s all been said (and tried) before. It doesn’t work on so many different levels it’s impossible to even decide where to start addressing its failings.

Ultimately though, you can’t fix a problem of non-compliance by adding yet more compliance burden. It’s like the old economist joke about opening a can on deserted island… first assume we have a can-opener. Mr. Huckaby, when faced with scofflaws, wants us to assume the scofflaws will stop being scofflaws long enough to get themselves licensed, registered, and educated, and then once educated they will stop being scofflaws. All accomplished with a regressive tax that, were it applied to motor vehicles on an identical relative basis, would equal around $1000/yr. Good luck with that Mr. Huckaby.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Will the bike license plates be offered in carbon fiber?

Mercier531
Guest
Mercier531

I was hoping for titanium!

Matt
Guest
Matt

Sour grapes or what? Jeez.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

If he does move forward with this, my hope is that the experience will provide a recent, local example of why bicycle registration is not a feasible or reasonable program.

If the intent is truly improved road user education…given that 89% of cyclists also drive cars, it seems like a more efficient and cost-effective way to achieve that goal would be to lobby for more bicycle law & operation content in the existing Drivers’ Ed curriculum and drivers’ license test. You’d even raise awareness & education among car drivers with no intention of riding bikes themselves…that would be great.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

YES, this exactly! More education during the learning portion of getting a drivers license would go a lot further in helping everyone get along out on the streets.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

At some point maybe its time for a “BikeStrike!” We all drive a car for the day and shut the City down.

Mercier531
Guest
Mercier531

I wonder (hope?) if his ballot initiative will also include stepped up enforcement of the car registration law. Next time you are out in the city look at the tags on cars. It won’t take you long to see cars that are being driven with expired tags (and some of those tags will be expired by a year or more).
I say, “Bring it on Bob”. I believe that Oregonians will overwhelming defeat this futile ballot measure.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Can’t even comment. The rationale is completely backward. “Level the playing field”? What? Now drivers can start running over legally licensed cyclists? OK, I’m commenting.

This is another punitive, revenge-motivated idea that will not solve anything. If the goal is education, what is bike registration about? What it sounds like is, “if we can’t get ’em with the endorsement/test fee, then we can at least hit them with a bike reg fee!”

If you want to require additional testing, it should start with those who already have driver’s licenses. Next time you go to renew, require a re-test, but this time put some relevant bike-oriented questions on the test!

And license plates. That is so laughable. Even if the haters voted this into law, license plates would be by their very nature transferable from bike to bike. Since no single attachment location will be consistently usable for any given bike, they must be movable. If they are movable, they are movable. If cops start running bike plates to match to make and model of bike, they truly have nothing to do.

$10/year for registration? This whole package will do nothing but discourage new cyclists, but I guess that’s really the goal–get cyclists off the streets!

John Lascurettes
Guest

I made a similar argument in another comment that the license and the “plate” must be one in the same. The license should travel to whatever bike the operator is on. That said … Hogwash.

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

Frankly, I think the “plate” will be of an item of clothing (vest, jersey, t-shirt?) that must be worn when riding your bike. One must always wear the “plate” when riding. WNBR not withstanding.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I wondered about this myself after attempting to think of a consistently usable bike-mounted attachment point. Hey, we could all look like racer wannbes if we have to wear race-style registration numbers pinned to our clothes. But, if we start requiring cyclists to wear a license, couldn’t we require pedestrians to do the same? Why not everybody? “Hey! That guy stole my purse and ran off! Lucky thing I got his license number…”

Does the language of a bicycle registration ballot measure have to address the “how” of displaying said license?

At a time when most cities are scrapping their $4, one-time-fee bike licensing programs, it seems far-fetched that a $10/year bike license plate law could be enacted.

are
Guest

maybe an implanted chip

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

…or a tattoo. More Portlandia-ish that way. 😉

Alain
Guest
Alain

I find it amusing that for Huckaby it’s an equity issue. I would be surprised (1) if Huckaby manages to sustain his frustration long enough to run a campaign (along with his business), and (2) if this really goes anywhere and is able to build support. If Huckaby does build support, then I guess we have something to be worried about, but he is really making a big deal over a slight inconvenience. In fact, it’s convenience at all cost, and if a few people have to get seriously injured or killed, well ‘so be it’ Huckaby seems to be saying. I wish people like Huckaby were as passionate about low-cost healthcare for everyone. Speaking of equity.

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

What about alcoholics? Wouldn’t it be a huge liability to register or endorse repeat DUI offenders? And if the state declined to register them, doesn’t it seem likely that a non-trivial percentage would say “bleep it, I’ll just drive”?

Grandpa
Guest
Grandpa

Huckaby’s issues would be addressed with more enforcement. There are a lot of concerns by cyclists that would also be addressed by more enforcement. The state, the county, and each city is tapped as far as funding for more police go, so any new law would be an unfunded mandate. The net result would be no change, because there would be no officers to enforce the new law.

Huckaby is engaged in a spectacular waste of time.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This is really what people like Huckaby want–punishment for cyclists.

The argument tends to sound like this:

“It’s no fair that cyclists get away with running STOP signs while motorists have to have licenses!”

Lewis Carroll would be proud (or maybe not, since he was actually quite the logician) of this Rabbit-hole logic.

So if he wants cyclists to be punished, then what makes sense to me is more enforcement now, rather than enact a new law that needs its own enforcement. What is the expectation? That cyclists will be busted more frequently for violating currently existing laws once they are required to be licensed? If so, why not just start stepping up enforcement now? If we can’t step up enforcement now due to lack of police resources, then how could we expect increased enforcement later, after the presumed passing of a new law?

Given our current situation with respect to enforcement, the only real outcome of this proposed law will be to increase the monetary cost of cycling and regulating cyclists. That’s it. Does Huckaby suppose that licensing fees will pay for more enforcement resources? Does he mistakenly imagine (as so many O-Live commenters seem to) that drivers will now be able to start calling in bike plate numbers and getting tickets mailed to scofflaw cyclists?

The whole rationale for something like this is backward nonsense.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I think ‘backward nonsense’ is a generous assessment.

But about calling in license plates and having tickets mailed to offending parties, I didn’t think that worked even now, with cars. Or am I mistaken? What recourse do I have to register my concern about people who are bent on terrorizing others with, or from within, their cars with the authorities?
http://bikeportland.org/2012/09/05/what-se-hawthorne-would-look-like-if-our-streets-match-our-rhetoric-76903#comment-3199619

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This is my point. Calling in license numbers–unless you are currently following a drunk driver down the freeway–gets virtually no response from law enforcement. Generally, an officer has to witness a violation to be able to cite an offender. I’m calling attention to the false “accountability” having a license plate is presumed to create.

John Lascurettes
Guest

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.

Oh please, if this goes through, please make it mandatory for all people renewing their licenses. We’d see an awful lot of know-it-all [cough *huckaby!* cough] people fail the test.

Tacoma
Guest
Tacoma

“In the meantime, I think we ignore people like Bob Huckaby at our own peril.”

I believe that and believe he will easily find enough support to get the required signatures. After that, I don’t know but I’m trying to understand what his “talking points” would be (more than just rhetoric I hope) and their fundamental flaws. I don’t have answers, just questions.

What I wonder is why motor vehicles are licensed (registered?) and why drivers are licensed? Certainly most citizens have lost sight of the reasons. Furthermore, would those reasons be valid for bicycles and their drivers? If not, why not? Also, what do the license and registration fees fund? Preparing answer to these questions would be a sound idea.

I believe the main issue is one of open travel on our roads. Would requiring a bicycle registration fee restrict “open travel”? Would the same apply to licensing? I am finding this link interesting:

http://www.bicyclinglife.com/EffectiveAdvocacy/TheRightToTravel.htm

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I am curious is Bob Huckaby prepared to turn over his driving record? Can the press file a FOIA request for this information? If this is about the safety I wonder how safe Mr. Huckaby is on the road?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

He told me today he’s had three speeding tickets. He’s not trying to hide anything. He sped. He got tickets. He paid them.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Well, he has more than I do, and I’ve been scoflaw cycling around town for years. Maybe he should be pushing for more stringent requirements for scoflaw drivers like himself?

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Interesting, he is an older guy if he really has only had 3 tickets for speeding in his life that is probably better than average. I still wonder if he isn’t bitter because he or someone he knows right hooked one of the cyclists and ended up with a ticket for it.

Seth Alford
Guest
Seth Alford

Were those 35 mph in a 30 mph zone? Or 80 mph in a 20 mph school zone? It would be interesting to know.