NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Bicyclists could one day need a license to ride around the city.
With more people using bike lanes and with cycling injuries on the rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he’s open to the idea of license plates for bikes.
But as CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, not everyone agrees.
Kramer recently saw one man riding down the middle of the road the wrong way on a one-way street, totally ignoring the bike lane. Another man was in the bike lane, but going the in the wrong direction, skirting a police car and a taxi.
And then there is the “red lights don’t mean anything to me” crowd. Lots of them.
Thursday was just another day in “Cycle City,” as cars, trucks and those who prefer to get around on two wheels struggle to share the streetscape, which is why Kramer asked the mayor, Mr. Vision Zero, himself, what he plans to do about it.
“Would you consider, for example, putting license plates on bikes, so a police officers would have a better chance of giving people violations?” Kramer asked.
“I think ideas like license plates certainly need to be considered, because we’re going into a new world, where more and more people are biking. That’s the kind of idea that now needs to be explored,” de Blasio answered.
In the past, the mayor has hesitated to take on the bikers, but from day one street safety has been his thing, and the injuries are mounting.
NYPD statistics show 482 people have been injured in the last four weeks as the weather has improved and more people ride two-wheeled vehicles. That’s a 115% increase from last year.
The injury list is apparently so concerning that hizzoner held his ground when a bike advocate from Streetsblog argued that requiring a license plate would greatly reduce cycling.
“I don’t accept that simple orthodoxy of things that might create more safety are anathema to people embracing biking and expanded bike use. What are the factors that will increase safety in a very crowded city,” de Blasio said.
Riders are divided about the license plate debate.
“I don’t like it,” one person said.
“It’s fine by me. There’s a lot of people who shouldn’t be riding,” Nelson Cabassa added.
“Another bureaucratic snafu,” added Art Edelstein of the Garment District.
“You have to pay to get a license plate and it’s going to cost more money, so you’re going to penalize the people that are following the rules,” Tony Belgrave of Hudson Yards said.
It’s unclear whether the mayor has enough time left in his term to enact licensing legislation, or if the next mayor will embrace the idea.