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A Cycle of Waste

by on March 14, 2011

Bicycles are stupid. They are top-heavy, flimsy, wobbly implements of mayhem that are by design tricky to balance for a rider who’s offered zero protection as he teeters forward. More importantly, they get in the way of useful vehicles with at least four wheels and an inside part.

Blocking lanes that rightfully belong to cars is part of the eternal conflict between the think globally/act locally crowd and anything with an engine. Bikes fundamentally reek of sanctimonious greenness.

But riders shouldn’t be punished for the privilege, or rather “privilege,” of pedaling about town. Albany naturally feels differently, as regulatory-minded petty despots want to issue licenses to vehicles that don’t deserve them:

It’s like your car’s license plate, but for your bike.

Two bills recently introduced in the state Assembly would require that all bikes in the state be registered each year and sport a license plate.

For those who were curious, it turns out this state can in fact license every single damn thing. You may be completely unsurprised to learn that there would be a fee involved in obtaining vehicle identification.  In a case of another little expense that adds up, Bike riders would be out the equivalent of approximately a lock after year one and a water bottle every year after that:

The license plate would cost $25 for the first year and $5 each year after.

Is it fun to ride to the post office and mail those bastards in Albany a check? Proponents are not content with merely soaking riders, either. Even worse, any representatives who promote this legislation also assume that cyclists aren’t bright enough to use reflectors or make certain their breaks work:

All bikes would have to pass a safety inspection — including lamp and equipment requirements — to get the license.

And, as mentioned, they also have to pony up to get said license. A state that turns as much money to slush as possible would get the chance to liquefy even more currency:

If passed, (State Assembly member and sponsor Michael) DenDekker estimated the state would bring in more than $1.8 million in the first year and $375,000 each following year.

More money heading to the capital is bad news for those sweetly credulous people who feel the bicycle plate scheme is something more than an initiative to skim revenue. It seems to need repeating that every dime would be taken from taxpayers.

The only exception is for kids on bikes, who’d lose money from their pockets before they can legally work. At least they’ll learn about getting screwed over by the government before puberty confuses them. It will make them tougher people.

But everyone with a bike would lose out. The proposed bill reminds New Yorkers of how their representatives view them. They’re not citizens to serve as much as they are robotic cash generators whose sole purpose is buying permission to do stuff.

Give your representatives credit for being inventive enough to force residents to acquire accreditation for everything imaginable and some things that aren’t. Still, it’s sad they don’t use their innovative powers for good.

Albany is not charging for breathing, so don’t worry. They’re only out to get those who engage in an activity that causes heavy breathing. DenDekker has created a feeling I thought was impossible: I feel sympathetic toward bicyclers.

UPDATE: From a WIVB story that was posted after the above blog- “Assemblyman DenDekker does point out, although it is not readily apparent in the bills, bike riders 18 and under would be exempt.” So, only adults would get ripped off. Lucky whippersnappers!

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