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Should bicyclists need a special license?September 16, 2011 @ 3:32 am (Updated: 4:50 am - 9/16/11 )
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says it's time to drop the rhetoric about cars versus bikes on the roadways and work to make everyone safer as they commute.
"As part of my commute I bike the same route taken on Dexter Avenue by Mike Wang, a 42 year old father of two who worked at PATH. One afternoon, on his ride home just two blocks from his office, he was killed in a hit-and-run accident while crossing the intersection of Dexter and Thomas," says McGinn on his blog. "I see the flowers and the white ghost bike, reading 'A cyclist died here,' almost every day."
Mayor McGinn says in his bike travels this week he also went by the intersection of University Way and Campus Parkway, where Robert Townsend, a 23-year old man who delivered sandwiches on his bicycle for Jimmy John’s, died after being struck by a car last weekend. He also rode to the spot on Fairview Avenue where Brian Fairbrother, who worked at Espresso Vivace, died after crashing on a set of stairs on August 30th.
"It’s time to stop finding fault with each other, and to start finding a remedy," says McGinn. "There has been a lot of overheated rhetoric about cars versus bikes or bikes versus cars, and it’s not helping make our roads any safer. It’s not even accurate."
To begin working on improving safety and responsibility on the roads, McGinn is calling for a community summit. The date hasn't been set.
Seattle will also invest in several education programs and improve enforcement of rules for both cyclists and motorists, and invest in road projects that make it safer for bicyclists to use city streets.
A reader, John, came up with this interesting idea I'd like your thoughts on. Require cyclists to get a license, just like anyone else who operates vehicles on the roads. Here are his suggestions:
Cyclists get trained about the rules of the road formally. No exceptions. It becomes a requirement.
Cyclists have a license plate on their bikes. That provides a means of accountability if they break the rules of the road.
You’d get a license plate on a bike once the bike has been inspected and is found to be equipped with a standard, DOT approved lane signaling and brake indication device.
Instruct police to ticket bike scofflaws who don’t follow the rules of the road. Set the fines to be the same as car fines. If you cross an intersection on a red light, that’s a $124 fine.
Create legislation that puts the traffic violation riding a bike on the person’s car driving record. A person that drives a car responsibly should also be forced to drive a bike responsibly.
The revenues collected from licensing bikes and bike traffic fines can go directly to pay for educational efforts and bike infrastructure. The higher the need for more infrastructure, the higher the license fee. Or, just base it on the price of the bike.
Photo from GhostBikes.org
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