Cycling So Popular in Georgia That Lawmaker Carl Rogers Wants to Ban It

Responding to a cycling boom in northern Georgia, a bill introduced in the state house would require bicyclists to purchase license plates and limit how and where they ride.

Cycling is booming in north Georgia, says lawmaker Carl Rogers -- and that's a problem. Photo: ##http://www.southeastdiscovery.com/southern-way-of-life/2011/05/northern-georgia-offers-great-opportunities-for-avid-cyclists## Southeast Discovery##

House Bill 689 was purportedly introduced in response to complaints from north Georgia drivers, whose chief grievance seems to be that it is inconvenient to encounter cyclists on the road at all. Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, who introduced the bill, believes cycling is so popular in the area that things are getting out of hand. Said Rogers to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “On these narrow mountain roads and on state roads, the traffic can be heavy. The mountain roads have become especially a problem because the (bike) clubs are moving up there.”

The legislation would require cyclists to purchase a $15 annual registration, to be displayed on a license, or face a misdemeanor offense and a $100 fine. The law would prohibit cyclists from riding more than four in a row single file, and would allow the state and localities to “restrict when and where cycling is allowed.”

“It looks like the purpose of the bill is to allow motorists to drive as quickly as possible and prioritizes eliminating a moment’s delay or ‘inconvenience’ over another person’s fundamental safety,” said statewide advocacy group Georgia Bikes! in a statement.

The group added that the law would discourage a healthy and inexpensive form of transportation:

The reason we tax, register, and require licenses for motorists is because cars are inherently dangerous and create negative externalities and social impacts (congestion, sprawl, physical inactivity, air pollution, crashes, fatalities, road wear & tear, etc, etc). A bicycle does none of these things, and in fact is a common sense solution to many of these problems.

In a bit of unintended hilarity, Rogers says funds from his bike ban law could be used to make cycling safer — which, of course, tends to encourage cycling.

A public hearing on the bill was scheduled for today in Gainesville. Any bill has a two-year period in which it can be taken up by the general assembly. However, the AJC called the bill a “long shot,” and noted that when lawmakers return from recess in January it will be an election year, which will make instituting new fees less politically palatable. In addition, the head of the Georgia Senate, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, is an “avid cyclist,” according to the AJC.

Georgia Bikes! Executive Director Brent Buice said the group doubts the bill will ever become law or even come up for a vote, but it is watching the case closely.

  • Anonymous

    See above replies.

  • Anonymous

    This isn’t the UK, but cheers anyway!

  • Anonymous

    Cars and trucks outnumber bikes thousands to one and pay for all the repairs, nice try.

  • Anonymous

    Your bike paid for none.

  • Anonymous

    Facts don’t require trolling.

  • Thanks for pointing that out. Useful comparison though, right?

  • Anonymous

    Only if I used the same language that you did.

  • Anonymous

    Only the car and truck driving ones, I never included them.

  • Anonymous

    You’re calling me ugly? That’s rich. Where did you get those glasses? Christopher St in San Francisco would be my guess.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t referring to taxes in general.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t hacking on you guy, but your first post did suggest a somewhat unrealistic solution. ;>)
    BTW, as a freight coordinator I’m well aware of what truckers pay each year to use the roads, you definitely pay more than most of us on this thread do by a long shot. Cheers!

  • Neil Myrick

    Your statement seems very conflicted. You own a Trek and ride frequently, and apparently own a vehicle and pay taxes and fees to support road construction. Yet you seem to have a very negative view towards other cyclists, 99% of whom own vehicles themselves and pay the same taxes and fees. What’s the deal?

  • Neil Myrick

    I lived in north Georgia (Rome, GA.) for five years from 2005 to 2010, so I know exactly the roads they are referring too. Yet I still think that people should be courteous and share the road.

  • Neil Myrick

    Due to their weight, cars and trucks cause most of the damage (the rest being caused by weather). Bicycles don’t damage roads. So using that argument, various taxes on cars and trucks should pay for all the repairs, since they can’t tax the weather.

  • Cazayoux

    Kevin, I am willing to bet these cyclists earn far higher than your capacity and thus pay more taxes to use the roads and all other public facilities. If you were literate you could read the laws governing the road and bicycles are considered motor vehicles and are supposed to use the roads. Their use is not free. Next time a cyclist is hit in Georgia i will point the authorities to your profile since you have acknowledged that for your capacity a human being on a bicycle is something to run over.

  • Cazayoux

    Taxes in general support the entirety of the jurisdiction. License plates and fuel taxes do not cover all DOT and Public Safety expenses.

  • Anonymous

    Get over your car-centric self. I am dressed the way I am because of jackasses like you who think they own the roads. Sorry but I pay taxes too. Those taxes pay for roads whether I drive or not. You really are misinformed aren’t you? Or do you really believe everything written by media? Do your due diligence. I did and I know you didn’t.

  • Anonymous

    But facts do have to be true or they’re not facts.

  • Joe R.

    The only reason cyclists want “special” roads is because of motorists who feel it’s too much to slow down and/or go around an occasional cyclist. If motorists could share the roads safely and civilly with cyclists, you wouldn’t have so many asking for separate roads for bikes. It’s the motorist’s fault these separate roads are needed. For the same reason municipalities pay for sidewalks for those who wish to walk, they should pay for bike infrastructure for those who wish to ride. Bikes aren’t “toys”. For many people they’re transportation. For some people they’re the only form of transportation they can afford or want.

    If it’s too much to ask taxpayers to pay for bike infrastructure, then perhaps those who are against the idea should just learn to share the road with bikes so separate infrastructure isn’t needed. And as others have pointed on, most local road funding, which is the type of roads bikes use, comes from income and sales taxes, not gas taxes. Cyclists pay more than their fair share of taxes so it’s not an issue wanting something only others will be paying for.

  • Andrew

    #1: Most streets and roads are funded from general taxation revenues.

    #2: Most cyclists own cars.

    #3: Anyone who seriously considers killing or inflicting bodily harm on a fellow human being over a misunderstanding – or even a correct understanding – of how roads are funded deserves to be locked up for life.

  • Rabi Abonour

    Obviously the bill wasn’t going to pass. Symbolic legislation is introduced all the time.

    I don’t want to be extreme but this seems like the simplest analogy: would it be okay for a politician to introduce a bill “address(ing) the complaints of” white supremacists and then later say it was only meant to start a conversation about race relations?

  • Anonymous

    Senator Jeff Wentworth (TX) went after cycling with a similar road-rage. He tried to ban bicycles from farm-to-market roads. It’s stupid to harass bicyclists. Cyclists use pleasant, economical vehicles, and spend lots of money on businesses in areas that don’t repel them with such condescending attitude. And since so many forget it, most bicyclists are also home-buyers and car buyers/drivers as well!

  • Anonymous

    The lane I’m in IS a bike lane!

  • Anonymous

    I never understand the bike haters. They will stop or go around strollers, skaters, roadkill animals, and paper cups, but will lock their arms and bare their teeth and try to kill someone moving with traffic, on a fuel efficient vehicle, that their 150hp car can just fly around.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Dude is trolling hard.

  • Cazayoux

    We really don’t want special roads. We don’t want to be used as speed bumps. Special roads wouldn’t be on the table if folks with your attitude could control your violence regarding the huge burden of having to pass people doing 20 MPH on a rural road. If that is the case keep the agricultural implements that are unlicensed off the roads. “i really hate when I have to pass a hard working farmer moving his equipment,” was never said by a person who cycles while driving or riding.

  • Cazayoux

    Value added taxes on my bike was pretty damn steep.

  • Cazayoux

    Wrong. Too late.

  • Cazayoux

    You never excluded them.

  • Thanks, everybody, for this passionate discussion. Unfortunately, it’s devolved into a series of personal attacks in all directions, and that’s not what Streetsblog’s comments section is intended for. So I’m closing the comments on this article now. Many thanks to @vitalygashpar:disqus and @2eff9b2f864759e1b53703022358c140:disqus and others who contributed useful and pertinent information about the bill. If others have updates like these that should be shared, you can email them to me at tips@usa.streetsblog.org.

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