Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Watch the KATU News program on bicycle licensing

Posted by on September 10th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

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.

I think the show went quite well. Both Huckaby and I got our perspectives across and Dunn did a great job of not over-sensationalizing or showing a bias on either side of the issue. (Note: I say that about Dunn on a relative basis, given the crazy-biased stuff we’ve seen from KATU and other local TV stations in recent years).

In the comment section last week, some of you expressed concern with the way I’ve handled this issue so far. Many of you seem to want me to blast Huckaby’s proposal and not give this issue any further coverage. Instead, some of you would rather I just ignore it and hope it all goes away. I’ve thought a lot about this issue and my handling of it. My hunch is that ignoring it, or rejecting it outright, won’t make it go away (that hasn’t worked yet). Instead, I think perhaps Huckaby’s effort is a chance for us to engage people who share his feelings and respectfully encourage them to see a different perspective while learning more about the larger issues it raises.

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • SilkySlim September 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks Jon for being a reasonable voice.

    But I gotta admit, I was hoping you were going to pull an Ali style rope-a-dope move, hitting harder with those key points you have already expressed so well.

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  • Madeye September 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I agree that engaging in the conversation is critical, and better than staying mute or hoping it will fizzle out. You did a good job, Jonathan.

    If it were me, I would focus on the accessibility issue. Not only do we want more people on bicycles in this state, we want one of the most socially accessible forms of transportation – low cost, healthy, eco-friendly – to remain that way! Don’t put up barriers to getting on a bike!

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  • Bike Bend September 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Well done Jonathan, you represented well. Articulate, reasonable, mature and moderate and still got the important bicyclists points into the conversation. Like that old saying goes, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.

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  • Ross Williams September 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    “I think perhaps Huckaby’s effort is a chance for us to engage people who share his feelings and respectfully encourage them to see a different perspective while learning more about the larger issues it raises.”

    And then again, perhaps it isn’t. But in either case it helps promote your web site.

    “Dunn did a great job of not over-sensationalizing ”

    I suggest you watch that intro again.

    I didn’t hear anything that even suggested their might be benefits from cycling for the individual, motorists or the general public .

    “My hunch is that ignoring it, or rejecting it outright, won’t make it go away (that hasn’t worked yet). ”

    It hasn’t? This idea has been raised by various people at different times for the last decade. It has been both rejected outright and largely ignored and it seems to have gone nowhere.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm


      Your insinuation that the way I’m covering/dealing with this issue has something to do with me getting publicity is hilarious. First, I don’t need the publicity and second, that’s just not how I roll.

      Also, if you think this issue has “gone nowhere” then how do you explain the fact that Huckaby and his many supporters are so committed to moving forward with it? I agree it hasn’t gone anywhere in terms of become a law — but my point is that it remains a potent debate/point of argument/seductive idea for many Oregonians. Thanks for your comment.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Hi again Ross,

      On second thought. I shouldn’t say your mention of my publicity motive is “hilarious”. That’s not very nice. Also. In thinking about it more, I actually do do this for publicity. I want more publicity for my ideas and going on TV and talking about them is a great way to get it. Also, since bikeportland.org is where many of my ideas live I also like when my site gets publicity. So you’re right. In some ways, I do this stuff type of media stuff for publicity… I just want you and others to know that I don’t seek it out. I take it when it is offered and it’s an important part of both my business and my goals to promote bicycling.

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  • Jeffery September 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I didn’t seem it as unbiased. I think some of the questions put out there had a view slanted towards cyclists as being the bad guys running wild. There wasn’t enough headed in the other direction about drivers and their reactions towards cyclists.

    I think the infrastructure for better cycling should of been more heavily addressed and been a major point, and that if the license/endorsement became a real thing, that funds were made available to drastically increase cycling safety.

    I’m also disapointed there wasn’t more brought up about the harassment that many cyclists must go through. How many of us have been yelled, honked, or swerved at? That happens very commonly and can be a life/death issue for some riders even if it weren’t intended by the driver.

    I myself have been subject to many dangerous interactions with drivers, and 99.9% of the time I follow every law possible. I’ve even had glass bottles chucked at me from moving vehicles going 50+ mph.

    My opinion is that you did a great job, but I want to see a tougher stance and more cycling advocation instead of just agreement in some of the cases.

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  • Geebs September 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    As far as this kind of conversation can go, this was pretty good. I think Jonathan Maus did a good job of representing a very reasonable counterpoint to Bob’s stance that undermines any ad hominem attack on a stance that isn’t supportive of bicycle licensing. Bob seems to be torn between his stated desire to make the road less safe and a not-particularly-fact-based set of opinions on people who use bikes as a mode of transportation.

    Licenses aren’t a panacea for certain road-users not following state laws. I don’t have a driver’s license, and I never have, but I’m still reasonably well-educated on the laws governing my road use (e.g. I know that I’m not permitted to ride on sidewalks downtown, and that most highways/expressways in Portland aren’t legally accessible to bicycles). A license hasn’t stopped drivers from hitting me twice, cutting me off, buzzing me countless times, screaming obscenities at me even when I’m in the bike lane, and generally not sharing the road. Point being, a license only means so much in an overall culture of entitled road use instead of one of sharing the road.

    Taking Bob at his word and looking at his plan in the best light possible, I think what this scheme is trying to get at (and does a poor job of getting at) is a need to change our collective road culture to care about those laws and make respecting them (and other road users, regardless of mode) important. Jonathan’s point about seeing a number of road users violating law, regardless of mode of transport, got lost in the rest of the discussion, but is, I think, the fundamental issue at hand: most road users who do so know they shouldn’t be on the phone, they know they shouldn’t pass with an unsafe distance, they know they shouldn’t run through traffic control devices, and they certainly know they shouldn’t weave in and out of traffic…but they do.

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    • davemess September 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Hey we found one! Someone on this site without a driver’s license!!!!

      Bob is crazy man. 50% of cyclists don’t have driver’s licenses? This just tells me that Bob Huckaby knows VERY few cyclists.

      I agree the intro was totally inflammatory (let’s continually show Ladd’s circle). Jonathan, how did you not cringe at the hosts continual usage of “bikes vs. cars”, which we all know you hate?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        Hey davemess (and others),

        Yes, the Portlandia clip is annoying and yes the intro was biased a bit against bicycling… But I guess I’ve just come to expect a certain level of bias. I mean, this is a car culture still folks. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to shed their strong connection to car culture overnight. I’ll still work on them to change it when I can; but I won’t get all worked up every time a bit of bias shows through. It’s a balance.

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        • Paula September 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

          I think the interesting thing, being a visually oriented society, that Bob’s issues were re-inforced via the video in terms of all cyclists break the law. Would have been nice for the videos to be unbiased by showing cars in ladd’s rolling through.

          FYI: Giving the benefit of doubt, I was nearly side-swiped by a licensed driver while I was legally in the bike lane. The car cut the curve driving into the bike lane (https://vimeo.com/49054495). Licenses do nothing to ensure all road users are safe, nor guarantee they know all the laws.

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          • Randall S. September 11, 2012 at 7:52 am

            I drove out to Clackamas Mall the other day. The speed limit is posted at 55MPH, which I drove. I was literally the only person driving the speed limit.

            Anyone who thinks most motorists obey the law haven’t driven very much.

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          • Rob September 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

            Paula- I think it’s interesting how your video at http://vimeo.com/27805063 shows you running through a number of stop signs. I wonder how long it’ll stay there now that I’ve brought attention to it.

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            • Pete September 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

              Huh. While I’d say that I stop a little more aggressively than she – only because there are far more cars and aggressive drivers where I live – I don’t know that I’d call this evidence of a number of blatant and dangerous transgressions. To me it’s more an illustration of why the Idaho stop law more accurately represents the physics of a bicyclist. We tend to ‘stop’ far enough before the stop line to be able to overcome inertia at the stop line, whereas motorists tend to stop on or beyond stop lines because there’s a great deal of mass in motion, even at lower speeds. It’s easy to say that “stopping” at a stop sign is a black and white thing, but in reality it is not.

              And man what a cake walk – I wish my commute had that few stop signs and cars on it! You ride just fine Paula, easily a Cat 5.

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      • Pete September 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        There’s a difference between bicyclists who have never had a license and those who don’t currently carry one because they choose not to drive, can’t afford to drive, or had it taken away from them. I think the number is much higher than 50%, but I think 90% overlooks a portion of the population that may be bigger than we think.

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        • are September 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

          agreed. BTA’s number is based on a survey of its membership, which is an even narrower slice than the readership of this site. i maintain a license only so i can occasionally grab a zipcar or a car2go, and by occasionally i mean once a year or less. my partner has not had a license in years, and we know several others.

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      • Geebs September 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

        Right? I’m certainly more deeply embedded in cycling culture than Bob and I’m one of very few people I know who don’t have a license and I can’t think of anyone I know who has never had one. To be fair, I did have a learner’s permit for a couple years and I make a point of knowing the rules of the road, but if I were a dairy product, I’d be low-fat fortified unsweetened rice milk (that is, not tremendously exciting).

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  • Terry D September 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    You did a really good job. I think it should have been pointed out that Wheeler was closed because of right-hooks from cars and not because of bikes running stop signs in the general discussion of how badly this area is engineered. Overall though it was an informative and pleasant discussion….unlike most of the general media debate lately. The moderator was trying to appear unbiased but I do not think he gave enough time to the benefits of cycling so the perspective was a little off.

    You did a great job of pointing out how expensive it would be to those who have multiple bikes…..and how would you prevent moving plates over from one bike to another? We have to debate these issues or else the establishment will attempt to ram something terrible down the public’s throat cloaking it as a “safety and education measure” and “equity between modes of transport.” When we all know what mode is the most unsafe and how unbalanced the infrastructure we have is.

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  • thefuture September 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    KATU could have done without leading in to the segment with the Portlandia bike messenger ‘carsss mannnn!’ sketch. Other than that Jonathan I think you did a great job. You looked sharp in that suit too.

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    • John Lascurettes September 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Agreed on the Portlandia clip. Also, the short clips they showed of Ladd’s and Wheeler seemed purposeful in their editing to leave out cyclists that did stop. I noted a couple of edits where it started when the rider was starting to stand on the pedals after what appeared to be a full or near-full stop so they could show successive riders blowing the stop (but I guess I’ll never know since it had been edited out). Also, even some of the Wheeler footage shows people “blowing” the sign but who are clearly not pedaling until they make that decision to go – indicating that at minimum they were judging the situation and that probably, they had greatly decelerated before proceeding.

      The debate section was great. I even cede a few points and perspectives to Huckaby, but overall he’s misguided. We need road education for everyone (that includes motor vehicle operators) where he seems to imply that car drivers know the laws as they apply to bikes (even though he admits that he didn’t know about some of the special laws that apply only to bikes).

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  • Dan September 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Huckaby mentions the laws he wasn’t aware of, like bikes not riding on certain sidewalks. Would be nice to alert drivers to the other bike-related laws that they are mostly unaware of, like taking the lane, safe passing distance, yielding to cyclists when making a right turn, etc.

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  • Ian September 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    You should have just shut this fool down instead of trying to be the compromising nice guy.
    10 bucks a year won’t even come close to the cost of what it would take to have a system to get everyone a license plate.
    His argument about Tourists was ridiculous, it’s not the same to check if it is illegal to text while driving. It is requiring an additional license.
    But I doubt more then .1 percent of tourist riding through the state don’t have a drivers liscence.
    Then his 30 million number form the DMV? Maybe he is stupid but I’ll believe he was nervous and meant 3 million. Oregon has 3.8 million population. lets say 25% are under 16, elderly or don’t drive. That leaves 2.85 million drivers. uhhh it doesn’t add up.
    When I read about his plan last week I started asking everyone I know who doesn’t own a car, and then everyone I know who rides regularly. I didn’t find a single person who didn’t have a drivers license.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Ian,

      You’re right. Bob misspoke on the 30 million number. He shared with me that there are 3,030,880 driver’s licenses issued in Oregon. He regrets any confusion.

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      • davemess September 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        I would have went after him on his “It will only cost cyclist $10/year”. He conveniently left out the “per bike” figure. I would have forced the issue on whether he thought people with multiple bikes should pay more.

        I also would have liked you to call him out on his weak response to the question about people who are vacationing in Oregon with a bike. His analogy to a rental car made no sense. Not a good analogy. Maybe if he was comparing it to people renting bikes.

        It just seems fairly clear he has not really thought this whole thing through very well, and he did not do a very convincing job in deflecting the “revenge” argument.

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  • Ben September 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    If licensing becomes required…

    Unemployment will go up, for some people, it’s their only form a transportation. If they cannot get to work without being hassled, they won’t get paid. Also there be a lot of bicycle related businesses get hurt because of this.

    Motor vehicle traffic will sky rocket, look at the freeways now, everyday coming home I see 405 and i-5 backed up so bad. I doubt it is going to get better anytime soon.

    More cyclists and pedestrians will get ran over due to more motor vehicles on the road.

    If cyclists are required to have a license to ride on the street. Are we going to see a lot of more cyclist being forced on to the sidewalks?

    Are we trying to be more like a regulation state like california? There is a reason why I don’t live down there, you know.

    Perhaps Washington will do better with their bicycling community.

    Hypothetically, (and hopefully) if all cyclist just stop riding when this becomes in effect. Do you think we wasted all this money on a bicycle infrastructure?

    DMV’s will be more flooded than they are now. You know that extra money we pay for licensing? It will have to go to opening more DMV’s.

    Increase obesity, diabetes, heart diseases… anyone?

    More gas stations will be needed.

    More parking garages will be needed.

    I am sure Ford, GMC, BP and other car/gas companies would be happy to write Bob a nice check if this does get passed.

    Oh man, I can go on!

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  • Allan September 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Nice work Jonathan.

    My only comment is you said multiple times that its important to increase bicycle use but I don’t know that the audience is bought into that premise. Perhaps a minute spent on the why behind your desire to increase bicycling would be useful.

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    • Pete September 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Allan makes a point here that I agree with. The arguments behind increasing bike use are too complex and not easily sold, especially to a public that seems to predominantly believe we’re in their way.

      Instead I would have referenced Bob’s comments around 5:30 where he says “we have bike lanes” and “there’s no direction for cars and bikes to be on the road at the same time.” There absolutely is – the law allows bicyclists to take a car’s travel lane even when there is a bicycle lane, yet many drivers make the assumption that the cyclist is breaking some law by doing this, and worse yet they try to pass unsafely instead of treating the cyclist as they would another car.

      Bike lanes have been oversold as a panacea but in many cases become a placebo, and Bob’s comments here demonstrate his lack of that understanding. It’s this broader ignorance that needs to be addressed, so while we’re on the subject of educating cyclists we should be educating drivers to all of the same laws.

      On another note, while KATU was quick to show riders in Ladd’s Circle I might have called out the truck that turned into Wheeler in their very own footage in rebuttal. Jonathan you did an excellent job of covering the ‘equal transgression’ point that so often turns into more of a childish us/them circular finger-point though, and I commend you on that.

      Oh, and thanks for giving us a voice!

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  • Pete September 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Jonathan, there’s an assumption here that both you and Bob make, and that’s that someone holding an Oregon driver’s license has been tested in Oregon. I’ve held licenses in four different states over the last thirty years and was tested only once (written or on the road), when I was sixteen in Massachusetts. Each time I moved I simply traded in my old license for a new one (and in some cases showed proof of address), and I would say my driver’s education then did nothing to prepare me for sharing the road with bicyclists.

    A driver’s license is treated primarily as a form of identification in today’s system(s), and making the assumption that carrying one ensures knowledge of a vast array of ever-changing roadway rules (that vary from state to state) is outrageously presumptuous, yet seems to be the basis for one of Bob’s proposals.

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    • Psyfalcon September 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Currently, as in the last 5 years at least, anyone trading an out of state license in for an Oregon one needs to pass a computerized written test based on the Oregon handbook.

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      • davemess September 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Yes, I can attest to this, I almost failed two years ago, mostly because I didn’t know when studded tires were allowed (hitting my own forehead).

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      • Pete September 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        Thanks, good to know. When I traded in a Colorado license for an Oregon one in Corvallis in the mid-nineties I don’t remember having to take this, but I may be mistaken. Three years ago I traded my Oregon license for a California one and just had to show them a utility bill.

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      • are September 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        yes, but there are very few questions about sharing the common space with pedestrians and cyclists, and you are allowed to miss a few.

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        • Pete September 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

          Questions, or pedestrians and cyclists?

          Sorry, couldn’t resist… 🙂

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      • Mindful Cyclist September 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        Yep, more than 5 years it has been a law. I moved here 8 years ago this same month and I had to take a written/computer screen test.

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  • Travis September 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    First, there was certainly a biased. Aside though, The way Jonathan manages these conversations is good for cycling on the whole. The positive publicity is not merely about bikeportland.org, but also every cyclist. Many of us agree Bob’s proposal is deeply flawed (I’ll admit his motivation is less flawed). However, calling it at value only earns cyclist more enemies. I’d love to hear further from transportation experts (facts please) and more conversations with a larger community representation. Let’s face it, Bob and Jonathan, for all their political differences, are both small business owning, white, family guys. Not sure how it would be moderated. Maybe just a well woven story / article. When we make it about bikes and cars, we forget all the slices of people and various livelihoods on the road. I’d feel better about Bob’s voice not going away if others had one too.

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  • JNE September 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Bike licensing = Not going to happen.

    Trying to envision the state representative in a Portland/metro district who would sponsor bicycle licensing legislation . . . political suicide in the metro area, not going to happen.

    Okay what about the rural conservative representative who doesn’t need urban liberal voters to keep his or her seat? Additional licensing and fees smells like taxes to me (Tea party suicide), not to mention the fact that bikes v. cars is a non-issue in most of the state.

    Just can’t see what kind of politician is truly likely to stake his or her reputation, and expend limited political capital, on bike licensing.

    Okay this movement needs a Bill Sizemore to collect signatures and get a ballot measure up for the voters. This Sizemore/Huckaby character also needs backers who have money and actually care, or have so much money they just do it for spite.

    (I can actually imagine a fat cat sponsoring a ballot measure for spite.)

    But then, that ballot measure has to get a majority of voters in OREGON!

    Bike licensing is not going happen.

    Let’s talk about something else that’s really scary that’s never going to happen. I’m worried that some people want to make microbrew illegal.

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    • Pete September 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Now that’s something that won’t be outlawed – beer will just continue to be taxed more and more in Oregon.

      For me, bike license compliance = not going to happen.

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  • are September 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    i continue to believe that insufficient attention was given to the basic human rights issues here. we must not exclude from the commons people who are just trying to get around under their own power. we license motorists because automobiles are very, very dangerous. most of the so-called problems bicyclists create on roadways are actually simply a matter of inconvenience to motorists. the convenience of motorists is not a high priority social concern. freedom of movement is. period.

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  • dwainedibbly September 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    If it passes, I’m not paying.

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  • mark kenseth September 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Jonathan should have brought his own video of cars/trucks taking illegal right turns and going through stop signs; that’s what this Hukaby issue stems from.

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  • scaler911 September 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Licensing cyclists and bikes isn’t going to work. I live in Vancouver, yet spend most of my time training (riding my bike) in Oregon. How is that going to be enforced? The reason that it works for auto licensing is that except for a few minor differences between states, the rules of the road remain the same, and the “penalty” for breaking those rules follows you. Break the speed limit in Ohio, and your rates go up on your Oregon DL (insurance).
    The goal should be education. And while local bike shop owners may hate this idea, why not have a fee of maybe $.50 per $100 spent on a new bike and use that money for PSA’s and other education. The Road ID commercials during the TDF and Giro were great in my opinion. Expand those locally and maybe it’ll catch on nationally. It’s a complicated situation that isn’t going to be solved by making cyclists pay a fee to ride, any more than a relatively small fine is going to stop motorists from texting and driving.

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    • Bike Bend September 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Education, education, education, enforcement. Chip away constantly at the misinformation and ignorance. Find ways to fund an expanding effort. It will take time and plenty of perseverance but, like limiting smoking, it will happen if the effort and will is there. Lead the way Portland.

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  • Eli September 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    The vast majority of stop signs are safe for a bicycle to yield at instead of a full stop.

    How many car drivers have been killed when a cyclist made a mistake?

    How many car drivers have even been prosecuted for killing or injuring people with their cars?

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    • Travis September 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Eli- I largely agree with you, however the “vast majority” does not cut it. The intersection at the middle of this debate is an example of a stop sign not suitable for cyclist to yield (roll through). Their have been injuries and while the drivers did not use proper caution (slow and check blind spot), its easy to see how cyclist taking that corner without stopping COULD contribute to a potential collision. Too, a loaded cycle truck could do a decent amount of damage at 20 mph (how does the law separate a single speed from such?). We need to stop. Maybe not foot down. Or maybe, SOME intersections without green and red lights need stop signs with mandatory foot-down signs attached.

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      • Travis September 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

        Grammar is especially awful today. I am sick. The screen is blurry. Excuses.

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      • Over and Doubt September 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

        “Foot down”? Not relevant; you won’t find it in Oregon law. Check it: http://www.paperadvantage.org/ORS/811.html#811.260 Why add imaginary constraints? If you can do a full stop via trackstand, so much the better.

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        • Travis September 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

          I track stand all the time at stops, but I wish we would just not consider it a standard skill for all riders. More new cyclists entering the streets and attempt to hold an adequate track stand while checking traffic it is apparent no such wording could ever be written into law. It is near rocking a clutch. It takes practice or, in some cases, talent not afforded to all who could be riding. Bottom-line: Track stands aren’t for everyone and thus make enforcing hard. At some intersections cyclist need to do more than just Idaho Stop. I guess, I am trying to find a way to legalize Idaho Stops. A way to consider when it is okay and when it is not. Would it be so bad if you had to unclip at a handful of dangerous intersections around town if you could legally pause and roll neighborhood stops? Consider Ladd’s vs. the intersection at the source of all this drama.

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          • Over and Doubt September 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

            Clip/unclip/no clip, foot down/trackstand: all irrelevant to the specified result (currently “stop”).

            Why in heck would we want a law to go so far as to dictate technique? Why shouldn’t a law be flexible enough for people to comply with differing skills and equipment?

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  • J_R September 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I also think you did a good job, Jonathon. I wish the Portlandia skit had been not been shown or that it had clearly been labeled as satire.

    If Bob’s proposal were to be come law, Oregon Tourism’s promition of cyclisnt should have the following warning “Touring cyclists are welcome only if you have an Oregon Driver’s License and if you pay $40 to $50 for an Oregon license for your bike. At least you don’t have to pay sales tax.”

    The only way Bob’s 50-50 licensed/non-licensed statistic can be right is if we count kids under 16 in the bicyclist-without-a-license category.

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    • Pete September 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Yeah, I don’t see segments related to traffic or driving ordinarily starting with something like Tunces the Driving Cat or Mister Magoo clips – very tacky.

      “At least you don’t have to pay sales tax”… LOL! You give me the idea that we should reach out to Chambers of Commerce to see if they’ve heard of this yet and if they’re concerned. I’ll start by dropping an email and getting this on the radar screen in Hood River and The Dalles – I guarantee Bob doesn’t have the support he believes he has there.

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  • laura September 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Why should I come to a complete stop at a stop sign if I can plainly see that the intersection is clear? That would be incredibly inefficient, considering how many stop signs I encounter everyday.

    Our roads and laws should evolve to honor and highlight the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle.

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    • BellaBici September 11, 2012 at 9:46 am


      Our roads and laws should evolve to honor and highlight the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle.

      Jonathan, when you said:
      “… look beyond this same roads same rules system mantra.”
      And the way you prefaced this, resonated with me. Same road same application of rules/regs is becoming an anathema. Shoehorning the beautiful bicycle in this carcentric world.
      Bicyclists continue to not stop because the Idaho Stop is the natural characteristic. Bikes are not cars and cars are not bikes. As obvious as that statement is we are still hamstrung by the legality, and our own deference, of being constrained by this paradigm
      Thank you for gently laying groundwork for us to leave this carcentric constraint.

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    • Bike Bend September 11, 2012 at 11:21 am

      While I agree that “Our roads and laws should evolve to honor and highlight the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle” I can understand how the average misinformed, non-cycling motorist will only get angry when they see a cyclist “blow” a stop sign. The motorist then makes the classic “all cyclists are thus scofflaws” and vows to try to get cyclists off the road any way they can or at least make those terrible bicyclists get a license.

      How about instead of blowing stop signs we work towards getting the Idaho law an Oregon law?

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      • wsbob September 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

        “…I can understand how the average misinformed, non-cycling motorist will only get angry when they see a cyclist “blow” a stop sign. …” Bike Bend

        Many average, informed, cycling motorists that are vulnerable road user conscientious get concerned…very concerned…when they see cyclists blow stop signs, or roll them without even looking, or making a display of looking right or left for possible approaching traffic.

        I’d venture to say these are the greater percentage of motor vehicle road users whose thoughts about cyclist road use are important in considering whether Oregon voters would ever approve implementation of Idaho Stop in Oregon. The type of person behind the wheel you’re referring to is more likely to be a small percentage, even smaller than that of people that bike, relative to the total number of people operating vehicles on the road.

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        • are September 13, 2012 at 7:35 am

          making a display of looking. i like that. concerned versus angry. way to deflect.

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  • Burk September 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Boy , I though both you and Bob were very classy. In fact the one who suffered by comparison a bit was Steve Dunn, he seemed so chagrined that you guys were willing to calmly talk about your points of view.

    Nice to see people disagreeing without hating each other…

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  • Brian September 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I found Mr. Dunn’s body language quite interesting. He seemed to put his back to Mr. Maus most of the time.

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  • Chris September 11, 2012 at 8:32 am


    Excellent job! I think that Bob’s measure does open up a table for discussion, but this licensing idea is terrible. Your point about how roads are engineered for motorists is what we really should be looking at. I often find myself having to defend myself to people whose minset is in a driver-dominant paradigm, explaining that we have roads and rules designed for the automobile. I think there should be different rules (i.e. stop signs treated as yields), and that roads need to be better engineered for bicycle travel.

    One thing that I often point out to motorists is that bicyclists are not surrounded by steel, plastic, and glass, and for the most part have an better sense of our surroundings. To have us come to a complete stop at every stop sign feels ridiculous. The laws of physics tend to be laws that I obey at stop signs, and not Oregon law. I do not ride fast, as I am usually carrying heavy loads of tools and materials, and I go slow enough that I can get a good look both left and right as I approach and proceed through a stop sign cautiously.


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  • T September 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

    As a cyclist I’d actually be for it **IF** it was part of a comprehensive transportation-law reform.

    1) Free licenses, free license plates. I own ~13 bikes, I’m NOT paying $130/year just to license all of them. I’ll risk tickets (or just stop riding) long before that).
    2) More leniency with regards to stop signs and red lights. As Idaho has shown, treating stop signs as yield signs works fine, and a cyclist that can proceed through a red light after stopping makes sense when we’re not heavy enough to “trigger” the light.
    3) ALL motorist laws are strictly enforced, including *any* speeding whatsoever. I don’t care if it’s 2-3mph over the speed limit, or not stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk, ALL laws need to be strictly enforced.
    4) Bicycles under 20lbs are exempt from a license plate. Sorry, it’s idiotic to think that a 15lb aerodynamic race bike should have a large square license plate…

    I’m sick and tired of hearing “bikes break the law” when I see just as many (usually far more) motorists breaking the law as well. For a local stretch of road 95%+ of motorists are speeding, and a similar percentage don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks along a busy thoroughfare. If we’re going to crack down on a subset of road users breaking the law, let’s crack down on EVERYBODY.

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    • Paul September 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Exactly. I stopped at a 4-way this morning (on my bike) and the Prius right behind me charged right through it at 25mph. In fact I’ve been passed IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION 2 other times there (SE 34th & Salmon) by cars that didn’t stop, or even slow down.

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    • Alan 1.0 September 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

      “…a large square license plate…”

      How about a postage-stamp sized sticker like the tabs on a car? Or an RFID the size of a speck of sand?

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      • Oliver September 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

        Excellent, now about enforcement…..

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  • Andy September 11, 2012 at 9:24 am

    You are right to engage in a public discussion of this issue and did a good job presenting the bicyclists’ perspective. The one area where I disagree with you is when you minimize enforcement issues. I think we would do ourselves a world of good if we welcomed more enforcement for both cyclists and drivers. Less than 5% of riders are generating 80% of the animosity. Licensing alone won’t do a thing to stop this. Aggressive riders/drivers who ignore the law will only respond to enforcement. If a bicyclist refuses to share the road then he should be ticketed, just like a driver should. In the end, more tickets will be issued to motorists than cyclists and the majority of both would be better off.

    We would do well to remember that “share the road” cuts both ways. When you refuse to give a motorist her lawful right of way you are not sharing the road. Same with the motorist.

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  • Dan September 11, 2012 at 9:42 am

    That was fantastic! Your disarming of the sensationalist corporate news media made me smile. I am very appreciative of all you do on cyclists’ behalf. THANKS!

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  • Paul September 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Then there’s the Georgia politician that says drivers licenses should be abolished: http://is.gd/RUgLeF

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    • John Lascurettes September 11, 2012 at 10:17 am

      He is koo-koo for Coco-Puffs.

      People have the freedom to move. They could use a bike, they could walk, they could ride public transport, they can hire a driver – all without a Georgia ID. Motor vehicles have been recognized as a privilege, not a right. They are inherently dangerous; yet culturally, they are not seen as such. It doesn’t help that advertisers gloss over the inherent dangers of driving while showing us the “excitement” of it except for the little “driver on a closed course” fine print that flashes ever so subtly on the bottom of a screen.

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  • CPAC September 11, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Overall I think this was quite good as an attempt at defusing a polarizing issue.

    One point I wish you’d made and that seems to resonate with the anti-bike infrastructure folks is that this whole bike registration and licensing scheme, including enforcement, will cost tons of money to implement, even more to enforce, and will hurt the economy in other ways-bike tourism, local bike shops, bike builders, etc.

    THEN you could point out how that money would be much better spent on infrastructure improvements.

    /end monday morning quarterbacking.

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    • DIMcyclist September 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Indeed. And who will PAY for all that extra bureaucracy– especially if it’s shown- in advance- to be an ineffective solution?

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  • bobcycle September 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I thought Jonathan did a fantastic job. An important point Jonathan brought up was, let’s agree we need to make streets safer, let’s focus efforts on issues that statistically cost the most in lives and money each year. (speeding, DUII, distracted drivers)
    Additional thoughts:
    1. Was there mention of age limits or will all 3-4 year old and up bike riders need to take the test and carry a bike license?
    2. It seems to me that much was said about all of us “following the same laws” but the fact of the matter is the laws for bikes and cars are different and we need to acknowledge this. (freeway access, keeping to the far right, passing a bike where passing another car is illegal, etc.) The laws are different to account for the fact that bikes are different. Bikes are slower, take up less space and carry less mass when collisions occur.

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  • shoemaker September 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I too enjoyed watching an engaging reasonable discussion.

    On Bob’s ballot initiative, it’s hard for me to imagine success there If the ban on studded tires, which would have saved the state millions couldn’t even get on the ballot. It’s hard to believe that an initiative that can’t really pay it’s own way would make it, and be approved by voters without some clear public benefit. The link between licensing and behavior seems pretty weak when you look at the stats for moving violation citations. Then there’s the injuries and fatalities caused by motor vehicle crashes.

    Addressing systemic issues make much more sense. The stop sign/red light thing is typically the main complaint, and maybe the only complaint that gets air time, but it’s also the most obvious symptomatic problem of different needs not being served well by the same road system.

    Something to consider in the transportation equity discussion: if bikes have to be registered with the state, bike theft should be classified as a felony offense like car theft.

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  • Todd Hudson September 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Was Bob telling the truth in saying he had little notice in the closures at the Wheeler intersection?

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    • John Lascurettes September 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      That little fact seemed a little disingenuous to me too. I mean, Jonathan was quoting him in articles about the matter before the closure happened. The way Huckaby states it in the debate, it sounds like he showed up at Wheeler and Broadway one day and saw it there without any foreknowledge that it was going to happen.

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    • wsbob September 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Someone else might want to take a close look at the timeline, but recollecting from memory, I believe it was around a week’s time from the day Adams rallied city council to approve the closure, to the day the street was closed.

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  • Chris Tuttle September 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I’m still not hearing very much about the fact that bicycling simply isn’t a dangerous enough activity to warrant the hassle, cost and liberty infringement of licensing. Owning a gun? I’m glad we have permits. Piloting a commercial jet? Driving an 18-wheeler? Yup. But a four-year-old can handle a bike.

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  • ~n September 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Burk & Brian, I was going to say the same thing about Steve Dunn. His body language at the start of the clip is blatantly OBjective; that coupled with his surprise that Jonathan and Bob are “mostly agreeable” reveals an underlying desire for the conflict to continue between motorists and cyclists.

    We need education around how conflict between cyclists and motorists is profitable for many businesses, and we need ideas about how we can turn our collective back on that kind of insidiousness. Allstate’s “mayhem” ads, for example… anyone heard the one with the bicyclist who “caused” a car driver to crash? (I may have to cancel my Allstate policy.) Perhaps there are some who would barricade the path to car drivers and cyclists working as one to reengineer infrastructure for the betterment of all our transportation needs.

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    • Rol September 12, 2012 at 12:19 am

      Makes sense — starting & perpetuating wars is one of the most profitable games around. Hey kids, see if you can match the war with its beneficiary!

      A. bike/car war
      B. literal war
      C. race war

      1. prison-industrial complex
      2. automotive-industrial complex
      3. military-industrial complex

      (To the best of your ability, do not participate in any of the first 3 lies or the second 3 mechanisms of wealth extraction.)

      Another interesting question: Which entity, 1, 2, or 3, buys more ad time on KATU?

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  • Tom September 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    as far as I know, cyclists are NOT required to carry ID while riding. So how does the PD ticket a rider if identity is not verifiable ?

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    • John Lascurettes September 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      While you are not required to carry a license or ID (except to drive or buy alcohol), if an officer asks you who you are for the purposes of citing you for an infraction, you must by law give truthful information. True, they don’t have good ways of verifying the info, but you will be held there while they radio it in or look some of that info up on their computer and do their best to verify you are who you say you are. If I’m not mistaken, you are not required to give them any identifying information until they state that they are citing you for an infraction or intending to arrest you – but refusing that information will more than likely push the officer to attempt one of those maneuvers if he can.

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  • velvetackbar September 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Please let me know when the signatures are gathered for this:

    signatures are gathered on a per-page basis. A statistical sampling of those pages verify signatures. If enough signatures are false and/or bad, then those pages are excluded from the total count, and the thresh-hold percentage of signatures needing to be valid increases.

    I predict that this initiative will be VERY popular among bicyclists named Bob Huckaby from every city in Oregon.

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  • DIMcyclist September 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Never get dragged into discussions of perception: always stick to (and present) the data, the facts, not the myths. Where are the statistics to back up the “moderator’s” obviously biased statements like, “When you stop at the light, you’re almost guaranteed to see a cyclist whip past you and keep on going?” I know it’s hard to think on the fly in that kind of situation, but that was purely subjective rhetoric- a perception rather than a fact- and should’ve been debunked as such.

    Also- next time Bubie, calm down, try not to stutter, & wear a blue sweater, not a suit. You looked maybe about as comfortable in that suit as a scarecrow trying to drive a Mercedes. ; )

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  • toddistic September 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    well said Jonathan. Thanks for representing us so eliquently!

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  • Jacob in Seattle September 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Build more bike lanes….you think bikes are so bad in Portland? Go to China or India or all of Europe for that matter. None of the afformentioned areas of the world require cyclists to “get a license” How about you, the driver, slow down and pay attention. Last I heard no one ever got in to a bike on bike fatality. If you want better trained cyclists, well then I for sure want much better trained drivers, a max age limit and more frequent renewals and tests, afterall last I checked it wasn’t a cyclists in control of a gas powered, 5,000 lb deadly weapon. Bicycle license: LOL.

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  • Worried September 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    What will help the MOST is that to ACQUIRE the bicycle operator’s license you have to pass a TEST showing you understand the rules of the road.

    That’s the best part.


    It won’t be sought out by almost every bicyclist out there.

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  • Really? September 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

    What about my mountain bike that I ride on trails? Do I have to figure out a way to mount a plate on it?

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  • Atbman September 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I still don’t understand what problems,proposals for (a) rider licences and (b) bike identification plates/tags are supposed to solve.

    Take (a):
    If a rider commits some kind of infraction, it will, in general, be minor, since cyclists cause very few serious accidents which result in injury/death to other people. To deal with it, the rider needs to be caught on the spot. If not s/he must be identified so that the police can catch them later. The only means of identifying them is via a description (yeah, right) or the infamous bike tag, which, if small enought to fit on a bike i,s on a “likely scale of 1 to 10” is a probable -10.
    If the infraction is minor, are the police going to be the slightest bit interested? See any number of posts on any cycling forum on that subject :rolleyes:
    Is it going to require a cycling test?
    If so, who designs one and how different will it be from state to state (I’m assuming that municipal-based ones are a no-no).
    Will it be effective in reducing the number of scofflaw riders? Only if they decide to take the test, get their licence and become reformed characters. Cf the number of driver-caused collisions by drivers with licences
    How much would it cost and what would the cost:benefit analysis be in view of the relatively small cost of cycling accidents, compared with those caused by driver error?
    If it is unlikely that most infractions, serious or minor, will lead to prosecutions, how many of the more careless/reckless riders will give a stuff about their law-breaking?
    Will it increase the number of laws regarding cycling? Since cyclists can already be prosecuted for a wide variety of offences and, mostly, are not and since the only new offence would be to ride without a licence, what effect would its introduction have? Statistically miniscule.

    What effect would the introduction of a licence have on drivers? Since many are, apparently, totally ignorant of the rights of cyclists they would still criticise us on the usual, entirely specious grounds, which would mean that they wouldn’t be any more impressed by those riders who already ride according to the law because they wouldn’t know they were doing so. Cue the usual torrent of ill-informed opinions in the meida, whenever a cyclist is killed or seriously injured by a driver.

    Now (b)
    Would the bike tag cost enough to pay for more infrastructure? According to http://www.walkinginfo.org/engineering/roadway-bicycle.cfm
    The cost of installing a bike lane is approximately $3,100 to $31,000 per kilometer ($5,000 to $50,000 per mile), depending on the condition of the pavement, the need to remove and repaint the lane lines, the need to adjust signalization, and other factors. It is most cost efficient to create bicycle lanes during street reconstruction, street resurfacing, or at the time of original construction.

    So how many UCI-Davis “$8-for-3-years-tags” would be needed to pay for the installation and maintenance of a comprehensive array of bike lanes and other facilities. Cue even greater repetition by drivers of, “get of our roads and stick to your own lanes” idiocy. And what happens when there are no cycle lanes or other facilities because the roads aren’t suitable for them? See previous question/answer.
    If they’re paper stick-on tags, how soon would there be a flourishing black market in forged tags?
    If they are supposed to help identify the owners of stolen bikes, who keeps those records up to date? Are they supposed to be transferred to a new bike when you sell your old one, or do they go with the bike to the new owner? If so, will the new owner inform the registration authority of the change of ownership? And if s/he does, who pays for all the record-keeping?
    And if a stolen bike from California turns up in Omaha, are the police going to check with the California Bureau of Inadequate and Inefficient Bike Tag Records?

    I’d say we’re up to $50 pa. and counting.

    Altogether now, I heart taxes

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    • El Biciclero September 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Ooh! Can we get titles for bikes and then have title recording and transfer fees and legal regulations around private sales of used bikes? Bike shops could then also have a “back room” where new bike buyers go to sign all the legal paperwork and tack on the extra $100 for title and registration fees and license verification checks.

      Then could we make bikes weigh 4000 lbs. more and give them engines to run on gasoline? That way everybody could wield the same amount of lethal force and road-destroying power.

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  • Charlie B September 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Instead of mandatory licensing, Huckaby and his ilk ought to be mandating that PPB actually police the rampant scofflaw cyclists. If there is really such a problem, laws already exist that can and should be enforced. No need for new legislation.

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  • drew September 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Jonathan for going to bat for common sense in this car-centric culture; I think you did a great job.

    Mr Huckaby: good grief, you don’t need to take a test or have a license to understand what a stop sign means. I knew what it meant before first grade. It means you stop, and everybody no matter mode of transport takes that under advisement. Have you come to a complete stop at every stop sign you encountered? I didn’t think so.
    When cars first appeared, there was no requirement for a license. When it became apparent they were injuring/maiming/hospitalizing/slaughtering people in great numbers, licensing was established. Using a car for transport is a privilege, not a right Bob.
    Walking/biking on public streets is a right.
    When a gas tax was first introduced, automobile clubs and oil companies opposed this, but later found that supporting it would be an advantage: it gave the illusion that motorists were “paying for the road”, and the false sense of entitlement that remains up to today. Gas taxes pay for only half of the maintenance of the roads from the needs of, and damage that cars inflict. Those taxes pay for none of the even more substantial associated costs (asthma, obesity, wars for oil, quality of life, long term care needed for car crash victims, etc).
    I think your effort to establish licensing for bikes is driven from revenge from your particular situation. It would only result in less people riding bikes. And it will fail.

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  • Jacob in Seattle September 17, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I have a drivers license in WA state, I also own a home in WA state. Homeowners in WA state account for 51% of road maintenance and road improvements. Therefor, as a cyclists, I (and many others) pay our fair share of the road costs. How many of the bike haters don’t pay theirs?

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  • gravitay September 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Now seems like a good time to propose an alternate solution for the ballot: turn stop signs into yield signs for cyclists http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2009/07/28/a-stop-sign-solution/ The point of a stop sign is to slow speed, and cyclists are already usually slower. Turning it into a yield sign still regulates the right of way too. Then everyone is legal, less enforcement costs, less confusion, and less effort for cyclists.

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  • KYouell September 18, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I finally got a chance to watch this and I want to throttle Huckaby and Dunn. Apoplectic is a good word for me right now. Hard-headed, petulant, revenge seeker. Arrrrrgh!

    So, uh, yeah, *you* did a fine job, Jonathan. I’m really mostly frustrated with the “you see a bicyclist blow thru a stop sign every time you stop” crap. That’s not moderating! Arrrrgh again! I wish you had asked him what side he was on and if he’d ever noticed a car blow thru a stop sign or a driver talking on the phone. Maybe if a bike had ever done any damage to his car or if a CAR had ever done damage to his car. There is no perspective here. And I’m grumpy so probably not making much sense.

    I do think that “Every person on a bike is another car NOT in your way” should be a slogan for all of us opposed to this. Why we want more people on bikes needs to be explained, and I think focusing on the drivers’ frustration with things in their way and changing that from bikes in their way to bikes get someone out of their way is a good place to start.

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  • Mholly October 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The 3 main points that need to hammered home whenever this bogus rego issue comes up is: 1. Registration does not alter behavior, can always use motorists as an example, 2. Wherever it has been introduced (worldwide), it has operated at a loss to the taxpayer, 3. Unenforcable. Has anybody sought the opinion of the police on this issue? Usually they oppose bike registration for these reasons.

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