July’s Momentum magazine features an article on bike licensing that goes over the well-worn reasons why bike licensing is a bad idea. There are many, but we really need only focus on two:
- It costs more to administer and enforce administer a licensing regime than would be recovered in licensing revenue; and
- There’s no public safety benefit from licensing.
Nonetheless, calls for licensing of bikes continue. These arguments go along the lines of: “Bikes get to be in the road, so they should be licensed like cars.”
That’s impeccable logic – if you’re six years old. In the real world where we grownups live, people ask whether it makes sense to enact costly programs that serve no purpose.
I don’t think that advocates of bike licensing are so stupid that they honestly believe licensing is sound public policy, or that they possess the charmingly naive belief that licensing is a necessary corrective to a troubling inconsistency between two (radically different) types of vehicle. So let’s call it what it is: passive/aggressive bike-hate. It would be refreshing if they’d just come out and say:
“We don’t like you people on bikes. You add precious seconds to our commutes and confuse us while we chat on our cell phones and shave. For that reason we’re going to put whatever impediments we can in the way of your using OUR roads.”