Bike riders may have to sign up

PHILADELPHIA. A proposal to force all city bicycles to get a license plate expected to be introduced by a City Councilman today was ripped yesterday by the city’s leading biking advocacy group as a measure that could set back progress made in getting people out of their cars.

Getting an estimated 300,000 bicycles registered with the city police department and then issuing license plates would also be very difficult, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

“We are not in favor of a registration program based on the failure and ineffectiveness of other cities’ similar programs” said Sarah Clark Stuart, campaign director of the coalition. “There’s the potential that taking premature steps would discourage bicycling. This is a case of looking at how enforcement of current laws should be and could be done better.”

A aide for Councilman Frank DiCicco said other cities, ranging in size from Minneapolis, Minn., to Bethlehem, Lehigh County, have stringent registration requirements for bikes.

“This legislation is about public safety and about being able to identify cyclists that break the law,” DiCicco said. “How many times have we seen cyclists on the sidewalk, going the wrong way on a one-way street or running red lights? But there’s no way for the police or for the public to identify the rider.”

Clark Stuart said her group doesn’t believe any bike license plate would be bigger enough to identify riders.

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