Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brewhaha Interrupted - NJ Bike Registration Bill Withdrawn

State Assemblywoman Tucker announced the withdrawal of A3657. Thanks to everyone who contacted their NJ Assembly reps.

I have a few thoughts on the whole brew-ha-ha.

1 - While the bill was introduced a week ago, the story didn't generate much buzz before Tuesday. But the quick radio, TV and print coverage of the bill being withdrawn this morning showed that it was being widely circulated into the current news cycle.

2 - The volume of posts on cycling list-serves was overwhelming. As the negative opinions mounted (of the issue, bicycle politics or in some cases the City of Newark) some readers were turned off while others participated in virtual conflicts involving ALL CAPS.

3 - The irate bike hating trolls who lurk in the comments section of almost every News site suddenly found common ground with the cycling community. My perception of the most extreme views - It's okay to run bicyclists off the road, but it's not okay to tax their bicycles.

4 - Having the State Assembly focus on bicycles-even if it is over a bad bill can be a good thing. One very experienced cycling advocate describe the opportunity as a "teaching moment". Some did "seize the day" by mentioning support for the stalled 3 foot passing bill, but we need to do a better job making the most out of these rapid response opportunities.