Registration of bicycles

Bicycle Network does not support bicycle registration because it will discourage people from riding and the cost burden of setting up and administering such a scheme would be prohibitive.

Rego rolled in Bayside

4 May 2015. In a close vote the City of Bayside has again said 'no' to bike registration, the third time since 2010 that proponents of the absurd idea have failed to win support in the council chamber.

Not that a successful outcome would have mattered: no government in Victoria has any intention of introducing such a discredited law.

The motion, which was voted down on Tuesday April 28, proposed to ask the Minster for Roads, Luke Donnellan to introduce a bike registration scheme in Victoria

The vote was split with Councillors Long, del Porto and Heffernan voting for and Councillors Stewart, Evans and Frederico voting against. But, as Councilor Fredrico is the Mayor her casting vote broke the deadlock and the motion was defeated.

After the result Councillor del Porto who has moved motions on bike registration before in April 2010 and December 2013 commented that “No, I will not put [a motion on bike registration] up again, it's pointless".

Councillor Stewart said, “I just don’t think we are going to win. I think we have a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting [bike registration] up. I think we need to think of some other options [to improve safety] because we keep trying and we keep failing [on bike registration].”

Mayor Fredrico proposed an alternative focus for bike safety by calling for council “to get $1.7 million out of the current government to implement the Beach Road Corridor Study.”

Bicycle Network supports the improvement of conditions for road users along the Beach Road corridor, and looks forward to seeing a strong investment in better cycling facilities in the upcoming Bayside 2015-16 budget.

Rego rears ugly head...again

27 April 2015. Almost a year ago to the day and the City of Bayside is set to embarrass itself once again by seeking to impose bike registration across Victoria.

Tomorrow the City of Bayside will vote on motion to ask the Minster for Roads, Luke Donnellan to introduce a bike registration scheme in Victoria.

The City of Bayside has yet to receive the memo that there is no credible support for bicycle registration anywhere in the world.

Proposed schemes would simply waste money, not improve road safety and discourage people from bike riding.The motion is a backwards step given the significant shift by other local councils to promote active living.

Rego rears ugly head

7 May 2014. Like some indestructible creature from a bad sci-fi movie, bike registration has again returned to haunt earthlings as the ugly transport policy that just can’t be exterminated.

This time Bayside City Council has tried to escalate the debate and decided to take the issue to the meeting of the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Bayside was the municipality that steadfastly resisted, year after year, the imposition of weekend morning no-stopping zones on Beach Road. Regular crashes into parked cars, resulting in nasty injuries to riders, continued for years due to Bayside’s obstinacy.

It was only when a massive cash inducement was offered by the State Government that the change, now regarded at one of the best safety interventions for riders, was adopted.

The registration concept has been resurrected because, according to Bayside, riders are injuring people in crashes and riding away scot-free.

It is true that such instances have occurred. But they are extremely rare. No government administration would ever consider spending millions year after year to address such a tiny problem.

Hardly a day goes by that police don’t ask for public assistance in tracing drivers that have failed to stop after a crash. Having a a registered vehicle does not stop people fleeing a crash scene.

For a complete analysis of the issue, read the Sydney Morning Herald article by Bicycle Network CEO, Craig Richards.

Should bikes pay their way?

Some people say bicycle riders should pay to use roads like motorists do. Car registration, however, goes towards administration and third-party insurance, not for the construction and maintenance of roads.

Bicycle riders aren't deemed to require third-party insurance, so why should they pay for a registration administration system? Funds for roads and bicycle facilities will still come from rates and taxes.

Roads and shared paths are public resources available to anyone who wants to use them. We all contribute to their creation and maintenance and, in fact, bicycle riders create less wear and tear.

Most bicycle riders are motorists as well, so they pay their share of motor vehicle registration, licence fees and fuel tax. However, by replacing car trips with bicycle trips but paying the same, part-time riders actually subsidise full-time motorists.

Will registration help to keep track of bikes?

Another reason people call for bicycles to be registered is to make the rider accountable for their behaviour. While some bicycle riders do break the law, other ways to address this issue are likely to be more cost-effective than registration, since a reasonable registration fee could not cover the cost of administering a system to test, licence and monitor bicycle riders.

Faked registration is a problem for VicRoads with cars - it would be at least as difficult with bicycles, probably more so because people wouldn't take registration seriously for a $50 second-hand, around-town bike. And what would be done about people who have more than one bicycle?

Displaying registration plates on bicycles would also be difficult, with such a variety of different shaped bikes in use. Think of the failure to find a system of putting front licence plates on motorbikes so they can be charged for using CityLink infrastructure.

An appreciable benefit of bicycle registration would be that it would make recovering stolen bicycles easier and the reselling of stolen ones more difficult.

The verdict

By introducing a financial and administrative burden, registration would discourage people from cycling. Families would particularly suffer: riding a bicycle might become an unaffordable luxury for many kids.

Finally, motor vehicle registration fees don't cover the costs of road safety measures, nor the health costs of road trauma, car pollution and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps bicycle riders should actually receive a tax rebate for every day we ride because we are less of a burden on the health system and the public purse?