On January 6th Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D) Newark introduced Bill A3657 that if passed, would require all bicycles ridden on public highways or public land in NJ to pay a $10 biennial (24 mo.) registration fee or face a $100 fine for each offense.
This bill would require bicycles ridden on public highways or lands to be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission and display license plates (out of state bicycles are exempt). Bicycle registrations would be valid for two years, and the commission could charge up to $10 as an annual registration fee to defray the costs of the program. The bill specifies that if the owner of a bicycle is under 15 years of age, the owners parent or guardian may register it in their stead.
Under the bill, a person who violates any of the bicycle registration provisions would be subject to a fine up to $100 for each offense. In addition, the bill authorizes the chief administrator to suspend or revoke a bicycle registration for any violation of the laws, rules, or regulations regarding their operation.
The backstory behind this bill is that elderly pedestrians in Newark have been complaining about sidewalk bicyclists spooking them. Sound familiar? In one way it's a positive sign - the bicycle is growing as a transportation choice in the City. A better solution to statewide registration needs better on-road accommodations to coax timid cyclists off the sidewalk. Other strategy's include and educational outreach campaign and a local ordinance that restricts adult sidewalk riding.
While this anti-bicycling bill needs to be defeated, it doesn't look like it's going anywhere fast. Assemblywoman Tucker is the only sponsor of this bill, there are currently no co-sponsors. There is also no equivalent bill in the State Senate.
The best strategy at this point is to ensure that your home district Assembly Reps don't sign on.
Contact your State Assembly Representatives and ask them to oppose A3657.
Find and Contact your State Legislators.
I am opposed to A3657 - mandatory registration of bicycles. Mandatory registration is unpopular with constituents, expensive to manage and and almost impossible to enforce. It may also be a burden to citizens who rely on bicycles for low cost transportation and hurt the bicycle industry in New Jersey. Many locations have repealed mandatory legislation.
The State Legislature would be wise to look at ways to improve bicycling in our state by introducing legislation that can reduce bicycle crashes through engineering, education and enforcement.
Click here for the statewide action alert posted by the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition