Government backpedals on bicycle oversight

Cyclists are (tax) free to bike the open roads



A state representative had introduced Ga. House Bill 689 that would have required bicycle riders on the street to register their bicycles with the state.

That lawmaker, Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, has since pulled the bill after local and national outrage at the proposed state law.

The bill, which also had support from Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, and Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, would have required the registration and licensing of bicycles.

This means that it would have required bicycle riders to get a license plate prior to the operation of a bicycle on streets with motor vehicle traffic.

There would, of course, be a one-time registration fee associated in addition to resources to strictly enforcement.

Twitter was ablaze, some calling the state, which has a 29 percent obesity rate, backwards for wanting to ban cycling. Other states who tried to introduce similar legislation found it to be too expensive to keep up. Many said they were surprised the bill was being introduced by Republicans who tout smaller government.

Rogers told news organizations he introduced the bill in response to numerous complaints from north Georgia drivers, who were inconvenienced when they encountered cyclists on the road.

“On these narrow mountain roads and on state roads, the traffic can be heavy. The mountain roads have become especially a problem because the (bike) clubs are moving up there,” Rogers told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Rogers said the bill would have also required parents to register their children’s bicycles.

Many cyclists saw this bill as a way to get a couple more dollars from them and discourage them from riding their bicycles.

At a packed two-hour long Hall County meeting Oct. 7, the representatives got an earful from cyclists and said that instead of trying to restrict bicycles, lawmakers need to do more to encourage the state to get on two wheels and pedal. After all, it’s still a fun, affordable form of recreation.

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