Across the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set. Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception.
Here’s a set of links that shows the prevailing informed public opinion on the matter:
From Winnipeg, an editorial making the case for encouraging rather than discouraging cycling. Read here.
From Calgary, a summary of the issues and a handy reference to cities that have considered and rejected licensing. Read here.
From Regina, where the unenforced bike licensing bylaw was removed. Read here.
From Vancouver, where licensing has been rejected by the city several times. Read here.
From Toronto, where licensing pops up every few years only to be whack-a-moled back down, an editorial on the most recent attempts. Read here.
From Toronto’s own city website, an exploration of the issues and why licensing needs to stay off the agenda. Read here.
From Ottawa, a recent piece from the Ottawa Citizen’s editorial board and their stance on bike licensing. Read here.
From Los Angeles, an editorial to show that this isn’t a uniquely Canadian position. Read here.
And from Copenhagenize, a leading global consultancy on active transportation, an old post on the issue that you can read here. It’s difficult to find recent European references to bicycle licensing – the notion was killed many years ago and no longer surfaces.
Next time someone suggests that kids riding to school ought to be licensed, show them this page.