Today's stupid employee award goes to a public servant, an elected official --Michael DenDekker, a Democrat from Queens, N.Y. -- who is proposing a bill that would require all bicycles in the entire state be licensed, insured and inspected. If passed, roller skates and Big Wheels are sure to follow.
The supporters of the package of proposed bills claim that the law would enhance "ensuring personal protection for cases such as bicycle theft or bicycle accidents." They go on to claim that since bicycle use in the state has increased in recent years, "it is essential that the state of New York be able to identify the bicycle riders."
Bicycle owners would be required to register personal bicycles and get license plates for them, to the tune of $25 for the first year and $5 for every year thereafter. To get the license plate, cyclists would need to get their bicycles inspected to make sure they "conform to the lamp and equipment requirements." In a separate bill, commercial bicycles would require a $50 initail registration fee and liability insurance.
They say it's not about the money, but it's estimated that the initial licensing of personal bikes would add about $1,875,000 to the New York coffers, and an additional $375,000 in yearly fees. Could the state really be that desperate for funds?
DenDekker also argues that the laws also protect pedestrians from damage done by reckless riders, stating that "if the rider strikes a pedestrian while in the course of their duty, the victim will straightforwardly be able to write down the license plate and [sic] so that insurance will be in place to compensate for any hospital bills."
The one thing the bills are sure to accomplish is the elimination of the eyesore of bicycles stored in entry halls and living rooms. The hassle and expense of licensing them will doubtless override the joy of cruising on them.