Opinion

NELSON: Don’t discourage green transport

Tri-City News
Tri-City News' contributor Jim Nelson.
— image credit: tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

You want to license bicycles, Andy? This is a silly idea and you, of all people, should be against it.

You have a visceral dislike of government bureaucracy. Government is the problem, not the solution. We need government to get out of the way. Remember? This is your mantra.

Yet, the government should make people trot over to the Motor Vehicle Branch and cough up $25 to register their bikes and get a licence plate, on pain of… what? If one refuses to get a bike licence, what is Victoria to do about it?

Would the RCMP conduct roadside checks to screen for bike licences and cyclist sobriety? Would they dole out fines, tickets and roadside suspensions to kids with no bike licence or too many noisy baseball cards in their spokes?

What about tricyclists, unicyclists and those who use other modes of self-propulsion that use our infrastructure without paying? Walkers, scooter users and skateboarders have been using our infrastructure gratis for years — shouldn’t we license these deadbeats, too?

The mind boggles. And this scheme would make money? Right, just like Coquitlam’s pay parking.

But the silly logistics are a minor reason to be against licensing bicycles.

The main reason is that we want to encourage people to cycle rather than burn carbon. We don’t want to deter them or make them pay. When someone takes a bike instead of a car, they make a healthy personal and environmental choice that is good for all of us.

Look, I’m not crazy about the Lycra, those gloves with the fingers cut off or the self-righteous attitudes of some cyclists, but forcing cyclists to pay because some of them annoy us is a bit adolescent.

I know Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson may be too far left for you, and oil companies are funding noisy anti-cyclist groups. It’s hard to resist jumping on the anti-bike bandwagon and buying a Climate Change is a Hoax T-shirt.

A car is a lethal weapon requiring assurance that operators aren’t incompetent or impaired. Bicycles don’t need such scrutiny and they damage neither the environment nor our infrastructure.

Licensing bicycles is a petulant idea.

I don’t like what you’re pedalling — er, peddling — this week, Andy.

 

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