Councillor floating idea of bringing back bike licences
Published Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:11PM MDT
One City Councillor has brought forward the idea to bring back bike licences for cyclists in Edmonton, but some members of the city’s bicycle community doubt it would be a success.
Cyclists in Edmonton range from recreational riders to almost daily commuters – but it’s a transportation option that could cost cyclists more if Councillor Ed Gibbons’ idea goes through.
“People buy tickets to ride buses, we buy licences for our dogs and cats and a lot of other things, and chickens to beat,” Gibbons said. “But the fact is why aren’t we asking people to pay for a licence for a bike?”
Gibbons said he would like to see cyclists who ride their bikes in their commute be required to licence their ride.
“I’m not talking the casual, the five-year-old and the family that goes on a bike once or twice a month or something like that,” Gibbons said. “I’m talking people that say they want to get to work cheaper.”
According to the head of the Bicycle Commuters Society, distinguishing different types of bike users would be a nightmare.
“Moms commute, dads commute, kids commute,” Christopher Chan said. “So you really can’t differentiate.”
Gibbons’ idea is not new, licences were needed for cyclists decades ago – but the reasons they were used and why they were dropped are questions City officials couldn’t answer.
The Councillor said he believes bringing licences back would keep cyclists from disobeying the rules of the road.
However, Chan argued that traffic laws apply to cyclists – whether they have a licence or not, pointing to road design.
“If you want cyclists to be safe, if you want cyclists to be respected, if you want cyclists to behave in a predictable, consistent manner it’s all about the design of your roads,” Chan said.
Gibbons plans to bring up the issue at a future City Council meeting.
With files from Amanda Anderson