Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) wants to tax bicyclists, essentially, by making them pay a fee in exchange for an ID tag to place on their bikes. The tags will somehow improve safety by stopping “rogue cyclists” from riding all crazy-like in their Spandex outfits, scaring the Olds. Accountability, see.
As a Republican, Ulrich is supposed to believe in small government and oppose nanny-state policies. Did he forget? Or maybe he’s just not very bright: after all, he supports Walmarts for New York City and watched Sarah Palin’s terrible TV show. Certainly, tagging bikes is not a very bright idea.
The New York Post has more details:
… Ulrich … says he is floating the proposal–which would require a small fee–because “there seems to be a double standard when it comes to enforcing the traffic laws. Bicycles are involved in accidents, unfortunately, across this city.”
Ulrich says that many of his constituents are seniors and that “people on bicycles scare the hell out of them. Sometimes they can be an intimidating presence on the city streets.”
If we’re going by the “intimidating presence” standard, then we might also want to tag tall, burly men walking around after dark. Also, runners–because sometimes you’re just walking down the street, talking on your cell or daydreaming or whatever, and a runner approaches you from behind and it makes you go “ahhh!,” because you thought they were a mugger. These encounters can be bad for people’s hearts, if they aren’t “heart-healthy.”
Bike shops and advocacy groups like Transportation Alternatives say they’ll oppose Ulrich’s terrible idea. Wouldn’t it be nice if bike activists didn’t have to dedicate resources to opposing really idiotic ideas like bike-tagging? They could use their limited funds and manpower toward more productive ends, like getting more bike lanes installed. Alas!
(Photo: Janet Bike Girl/flickr)