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Bicycle registration, license plates and single-file riding pushed in Georgia

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Update: Oct. 9, 2013Legislators abandon bike registration bill


Oct. 4, 2013 — The really bad idea of requiring bicycle registration and license plates has made it into a bill submitted to the Georgia legislature.

Georgia House Bill 689

Georgia House Bill 689

The bill by the three Georgia lawmakers doesn’t stop with registration, however. It puts new limits on how bicyclists can use the road, such as allowing only single-file riding and in groups of four or fewer.

Reports say that the three legislators from the Gainesville area north of Atlanta were influenced by a local constituent who runs a trucking firm.

If considered, House Bill 689 will come up during the 2014 General Assembly session which begins in January.

Whose idea

The bill was submitted by Republicans Carl Rogers, Lee Hawkins, and Emory Dunahoo. Although they promote it as a bill to make the roads safer, it’s clearly anti-bicycling.

Rep. Rogers told AccessNorthGa.com that he wanted to bring the interested parties together at a meeting scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7 at the Hall County Government Building, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

“Our hope is to bring everybody to the table – cyclists, property owners, the people that are struggling on the roads where these cyclists are.”

In a prepared statement, Rep. Hawkins explained:

While I do not support tag fees for bikes, it does address a recurring complaint of identifying those cyclist who are creating a safety issue for themselves and motorist who will be ultimately responsible for an accident.  While the vast majority of riders are thoughtful and courteous of motorists and other bicyclists, there are those who are not so thoughtful, resulting in dangerous situations.

I have had complaints by individuals of bicyclists who  attempt to prevent motorists from passing them by moving to the left as the car comes around them. I have personally seen this occur and saw the truck turn back so as to speak to the folks on the bikes.   I live on a road which is often used by cyclists and 95% are single file on the right shoulder, causing no problems and enjoying the day.  Frankly, I like to see them out and often wish I was one of them.

An Atlanta TV station contacted Jim Syfan, the owner of Syfan Logistics trucking company, who reportedly influenced the bill. He said:

“It’s not meant to stop anyone from riding. What it’s meant to do is create an identification process. [Most bikers] are nice guys, they’re people, but once in awhile you’ll get a guy that will ride in the middle of the road and flip you off. This is to identify the guys that are not abiding by the rules.”

Response

Bicycle advocates at GeorgiaBikes! have come out strongly against the bill.

This legislation is bad. Very bad. It is poorly thought through and represents an unnecessary expansion of government that would penalize hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens and visitors who are engaging in a simple, healthy activity. Plenty of laws already exist to regulate motorist and bicyclist behavior on the public roads.

They question its impact on children riding bikes to school, persons who ride bikes for economic reasons, and the bicycle tourism industry.

Registration

The legislation, House Bill 689, would require that owners register their bicycles; failure to do so would be a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine.

It also requires that bicycles display a 4-by-7-inch license tag. The license plate would have to be replaced if the bicycle is sold.

New rules of the road

Further, the bill prohibits side-by-side bike riding. It requires that bicyclists ride single-file, except on bike paths or bike lanes. Further:

Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall ride no more than four riders per single file line, and at least four feet shall separate each bicycle. At least 50 feet shall be maintained between each line of four riders at all times.

So, even pacelines would be illegal in Georgia.

This isn’t the first attempt to push single-file bicycle riding in Georgia.


Two years ago, State Senator Butch Miller, also of Gainesville, submitted a bill that would have required single-file riding. Advocates in GeorgiaBikes! and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition turned him around on the issue, explaining how two-abreast riding makes bicyclists easier to see helps ensure that motorists adhere to the 3-foot passing law.

In fact, the advocates convinced Miller to support Complete Street policies that promotes designing roads for bicycles as well as motorists.

Let’s hope bicycle advocates can prevail on Reps. Rogers, Hawkins and Dunahoo to abandon this wrong-headed measure and support other measures to make roads safe for all users.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2013/10/04/bicycle-registration-license-plates-and-single-file-riding-pushed-in-georgia/

7 comments

2 pings

  1. Joe Seconder

    The “supporter” interviewed is Jim Syfan. Owner of Syfan Logistics in Gaineville, a trucking company. He’s a BIG-TIME political donor. Gave (at least) $5,450 to Rep. Hawkins, Dunahoo & Sen. Miller (who introduced the PREVIOUS bill 2 yrs ago against 2-abreast cycling).

    http://media.ethics.ga.gov/search/Campaign/Campaign_ByContributionsearchresults.aspx?Contributor=syf&Zip=&City=&ContTypeID=0&PAC=&Employer=&Occupation=&From=&To=&Cash=&InK=&Filer=&Candidate=&Committee=

    1. CJ Kelly

      I think we should go a step further and ban bicyclist from the roads entirely. Those little 2 wheeled bikes get in the way of cars and trucks and have no business on the road, isn’t that what sidewalks are made for? And while you’re at it why not get those mopeds and motor cycles off the roads also. Come to think of it grandma and grandpa should not be driving after 60 as well as anyone on any kind of prescribed medication, doesn’t the bottle say do not operate heavy equipment or drive a motor vehicle. And teenagers, statistics prove that those pesky teens are the ones most responsible for most accidents. Oh and all of the drunks who drive after one glass of alcohol. And how about anyone with a cell phone. And truck drivers who drive too fast. And people who drive those cars with the big emblems on the side and the lights on the top with the computers next to them and look at the computer screen while driving, you know who you are. And cabbies. And anyone who drives a vehicle larger that a passenger car on a wet road because they churn up a cloud of dirty mists that gets on my windshield which impedes my vision. And early morning commuters who put on their makeup and drink hot coffee and eat fast food while texting this is not the place to multitask. And any sports cars or muscle cars that can do 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds. And poor people who don’t have enough money for a brand new car. If you get a flat tire you should be arrested for blocking the road. Yea ban them all!!! Are you beginning to see how foolish your bill is yet!!!!

  2. jim5car

    I’m a cyclist who’s had enough trouble with “hotshot” cyclists to favor bike license plates.

    When the minority of morons out there realize they’ll be ID’d if they pass too close to pedestrians, run other cyclists off the road, violate road laws with impunity etc etc many of these problems will stop.

    I’m skeptical of cyclists who say “We don’t want to be identified! We don’t want to be accountable for our actions!” Well, why not?

    Opposing laws like this causes the entire biking movement to lose credibility in the general public’s eyes, a downside we don’t really need…

  3. Jeff Dubrule

    Can we have the 50′ between groups

  4. CJ Kelly

    I think we should go a step further and ban bicyclist for the roads entirely. Those little 2 wheeled bikes get in the way of cars and trucks and have no business on the road, isn’t that what sidewalks are made for? And while your at it why not get those mopeds and motor cycles off the roads also. Come to think of it grandma and grandpa should not be driving after 60 as well as anyone on any kind of prescribed medication, doesn’t the bottle say do not operate heave equipment or drive a motor vehicle. And teenagers, statistics prove that those pesky teens are the ones most responsible for accidents. Oh and all of the drunks who drive after one glass of alcohol. And how about anyone with a cell phone. And truck drivers who drive to fast. And people who drive those cars with the big emblems on the side and the lights on the top with the computers next to them and look at the computer screen while driving , you know who you are. And cabbies. And anyone who drives a vehicle larger that a passenger car on a wet road because they churn up a cloud of dirty mist that gets on my windshield. And early morning commuters who put on their makeup. And anyone who drinks hot coffee or eats fast food while texting. And any sports cars or muscle cars that can do 0 to 60 in less that 10 seconds . And poor people who don’t have enough money for a brand new car. If you get a flat tire you should be arrested for blocking the road. Yea ban them all !!! Are you beginning to see how foolish your bill is yet!!!!

    1. CJ Kelly

      I think we should go a step further and ban bicyclist from the roads entirely. Those little 2 wheeled bikes get in the way of cars and trucks and have no business on the road, isn’t that what sidewalks are made for? And while you’re at it why not get those mopeds and motor cycles off the roads also. Come to think of it grandma and grandpa should not be driving after 60 as well as anyone on any kind of prescribed medication, doesn’t the bottle say do not operate heavy equipment or drive a motor vehicle. And teenagers, statistics prove that those pesky teens are the ones most responsible for most accidents. Oh and all of the drunks who drive after one glass of alcohol. And how about anyone with a cell phone. And truck drivers who drive too fast. And people who drive those cars with the big emblems on the side and the lights on the top with the computers next to them and look at the computer screen while driving, you know who you are. And cabbies. And anyone who drives a vehicle larger that a passenger car on a wet road because they churn up a cloud of dirty mists that gets on my windshield which impedes my vision. And early morning commuters who put on their makeup and drink hot coffee and eat fast food while texting this is not the place to multitask. And any sports cars or muscle cars that can do 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds. And poor people who don’t have enough money for a brand new car. If you get a flat tire you should be arrested for blocking the road. Yea ban them all!!! Are you beginning to see how foolish your bill is yet!!!!

  5. Pamela

    Interesting. We are researching a vintage bicycle tag with a registered number from the City of Atlanta. It appears to be post Civil War and would be interesting to know who it was registered to. Registration of bicycles apparently goes way back so it’s nothing new yet the dangerous highways and increased population are increasing still. I wonder if they still keep these records, like who did this registration belong too and what happened to them and their up roots and siblings. Why did they register the bicycles then and was this particular person riding the bike at the time, etc. Lots of research to do. Any and all information about bicycle registration and its history going way back would be great appreciated. Seems to be a rare find for such a relic.

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