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Vancouver councillor wants to license cyclists
By John Colebourn, The Province October 18, 2015
Vancouver councillor Melissa De Genova thinks it is time to make cyclists get a licence.
Following a dust-up between a pregnant woman and a cyclist in Kitsilano over the Thanksgiving weekend, De Genova on Sunday said it is time to move toward a bicycle licensing program.
On Tuesday she plans on introducing a motion to get Vancouver city staff to study the possibility.
"I am asking for staff to look at this and see how feasible it is," said De Genova, an NPA council member.
She feels by registering in a licensed program, people will be better able to track their bikes if stolen. And they would be more accountable for their behaviour on the road if a licence plate was on the bike, she adds.
"This is something I have been researching for many months," said De Genova. "We have nothing right now to protect cyclists when their bikes are stolen."
De Genova said requiring people to get a licence to ride would also help others identify the bike rider if a problem arises. She noted that the incident along the bike route in Kitsilano highlights how it can be tough to identify a rider, especially at night.
She does not yet know how much it would cost for a licence. "I would hope it would be a nominal fee," she said.
In the upcoming months, De Genova said, she would like to see some consultation with the various cycling groups. "I know many of them want this," she said. "This program benefits cyclists."
HUB spokesman Colin Stein said other places around the world have tried a licensing system but it ultimately failed.
"There have been many efforts around the world to introduce licensing and from what I understand they don't work," he said. "It is very difficult to sustain financially."
Stein thinks a licensing system could turn into a bureaucratic nightmare, tough to maintain and enforce without huge amounts of money put in to keep it afloat.
"What is the ultimate goal?" he asked.
Many cyclists ride from region to region and Stein said a licensing system would only work if all the other municipalities joined in.
"It could be incredibly expensive to maintain," he said. "Without a regional approach I don't think it would work."