Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Following the death of cyclist, John Cornish, the usual hullabaloo and hatred has hit the newspapers and airwaves.
As expected, the hoary chestnut of bike registration has been resurrected.
I think it would be a great idea if it was based on the power of the vehicle and/or its weight and applied to all road vehicles.
My ten kilo bike (which does a great job of supporting a massive weight of rider) is usually propelled with a power of at maximum 250 watts.
I would be happy to pay a rego fee of $100 based on my power.
Based on this we would now see an HSV with 300Kw then pay $120,000 rego.
On weight of vehicle - a hummer would pay lots.
The knee jerk call for registration omits to propose an equitable fee based on any criterion.
I would pay a token rego and happily display an identification plate if it led to less harassment from drivers and more bike lanes. But you could pay all the user fees in the world for a bike and still get run off the road by the 1% or less of drivers that want to run us off the road and use SMIDSY as their defense.
The other thought is that display a unique identifier may lead to false police reports from drivers as harassment.
If you based a registration fee on how much damage a bike does to the road anyway, it would be token and cost for admin than actual fees.
If you want to kill off cycling, just introduce rego.
it is a vexed issue but somehow we need to be better protected from the haters on the road - and i posit the thought that if a rego fee is paid albeit a tiny one then our rights may well be enhanced
The fact is registration (ie the actual registration fee component, not including the CTP premium) pays for nothing but the system that administers the registration system. Cars in the wrong hands (and not just criminal hands) are very dangerous to others, that is why they are registered. Cars are registered for the same reason guns are, the safety of the general public by providing traceability when somebody behaves in a broadly dangerous way with direct life risk to others.
Bicycles, even when a peleton is behaving irresponsibly (such as Glenhuntly Rd 2008), are so rarely a direct threat to the lives of bystanders as to make bicycle registration absolutely no benefit for the cost.
On the CTP insurance component of motor vehicle registration, that too is recognition by authorities that cars are significantly more dangerous to others than other items. The vast majority of household insurances will cover a rider for the public liability they incur in a crash. Those with no insurance protection are more likely to be the sort of bogan in a an old bomb of a car than a BMX bandit acting thoughtlessly, and the BMX bandit is statistically more likely to be a minor, therefore covered under their parents' public liability cover. Then there are those of us who have insurance through BV.
We can't reason with an unreasonable talkback caller but, when our family, friends and colleagues are swayed by seemingly reasonable claims from hateful ranters, you can reason with them. Hope this helps you do that.
Seriously, registering cyclists is as silly and orwellian as registering pedestrians, and don't get me started on having to show a driver's licence when being pulled over as a cyclist... (I always show my media pass as first option, it sometimes gets accepted ;-)
I just tell them that I'm not carring my license - which I usually don't carry when I ride.
And then I said, sorry, next time I do a wheelie I'll keep both hands on the handlebars.
Media pass... how do I get one of those?
People had a right to use public space long before automobiles were invented.
Just so long as you didn't have coloured skin.
I would love to argue that "bikes were around first" to a driver when I get a chance. But then I can imagine the reply from the driver "but it's survival of the fittest" and ram me off the road.
I will just keep quiet whilst out on the road and freely use the road my taxes help to pay for.
I would be happy for registration to apply to all road users in proportion to their cost to government/taxpayers. Naturally, the costs to motorists (road maintenance, emergency wards, ambulances, etc etc) would be astronomical compared to cyclists, so this idea will always be buried.
I also think that motorists should pay dearly to park in public places including the side of the road. This is government largesse for no return - the road space could be used for bike lanes, a much more "public" use than private car parking, if motorists are not willing to pay through the nose.
Tracey Gaudry from the Amy Gillett Foundation here. We have been reading the comments of readers on Melbourne Cyclist with great interest, as we do with the Sydney Cyclist, Adelaide Cyclist etc etc. The commentary regarding registration is healthy, its about understanding the situation, setting a goal for the culture we would like to achieve w.r.t the embracing of bike riding as part of the Australian way of life, and working towards practical solutions which are always most successful when all parties 'give a little to gain a lot' (not necessarily in monetary terms). The AGF will become a significant contributor to this debate - we prefer not to call it a debate but a discussion regarding a possible solution, one of many that need to be part of the mix.
Please feel free at any time to drop the AGF a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and suggestions.
CEO, Amy Gillett Foundation