This State Rep Wants to Require a Special Permit to Ride in Bike Lanes

A rural Minnesota lawmaker wants to crack down on serious problems like this. Photo:  Minneapolis Bike Coalition on Flickr
A rural Minnesota lawmaker wants to crack down on serious problems like this. Photo: Minneapolis Bike Coalition on Flickr

American statehouses are breeding grounds for terrible bike laws. This month, thanks to Minnesota state representative Duane Quam, we have a new entry in the proud tradition of legislators stigmatizing people who bike.

duane_quam
Duane Quam

Quam’s bill would require people to carry a special permit to ride in bike lanes in urban areas. To obtain the permit, they would have to take a special training course and pay an annual $5 fee. The rule would only apply to urban areas — basically Minneapolis and St. Paul. For some reason, Quam also wants to forbid children under 15 from using bike lanes.

The bill is a bad idea for all the reasons bike licensing bills are always a bad idea. It would lead to selective enforcement and racial discrimination. Administration would be a logistical nightmare and cost more than the fees raise. Fewer people would bike, reducing safety in numbers.

What’s especially strange about this one, as Minneapolis Public Radio pointed out, is that it would cause more people to avoid bike lanes and ride in traffic, exposing them more dangers and aggravating drivers in the process.

Fortunately, Quam’s bill appears to be only for show and is unlikely to find much support in the statehouse, Ethan Fawley of the Minnesota Bicycle Coalition told the Star Tribune.

  • Neil

    looks like ol’ Duane could do with some bike exercise.

  • DayleDiamond

    Rep. Quam is so very, very fat.
    I can’t help but wonder if his proposed crackdown on physical activity is an external expression of his personal aversion to fitness.
    I’ve contacted his office and am awaiting a response.
    He can be reached at (651) 296-9236

  • thielges

    Eh. Addressing this proposed law on its merits (or lack of) would be a lot more productive than ad hominem attacks on the sponsor’s appearance.

  • DayleDiamond

    If the motive for the proposal is personal, the response should be personal. Otherwise you’re not speaking the same language as the legislator. I don’t have anything against people who elect to be morbidly obese. When people try to externalize their internal struggles, that’s when I object.

  • Duncan Watson

    The law has so little merit that addressing it amounts to just jeering. But hey whatever you are just a troll.

  • Frank Kotter

    Let’s do both!

    The law is ridiculous in spirit, verbiage and intent. Did you read it?

    Now, moving on to the author:

    This man is a disgusting slob of a human being who has based his entire career on misogynistic, homophobic legislation that has no chance for passage because it is:
    1. Unconstitutional
    2. Reactionary

    Well, it was only misogynistic and homophobic until it became ‘anything not male, white and living with a connection to public sewer systems’.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    No body-shaming please.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    Two recent trends:
    The United States has the worst obesity problem in the world.
    The United States has many people who are against body shaming.

    Can’t you see the obvious connection between the two? If people are ashamed of being fat, they are likely to do something to make themselves healthier.

    We have reduced racism by shaming people who are racists. We have reduced smoking by shaming people who smoke. Why not also reduce obesity?

  • Love2Ride2

    Registration, license & insurance for ALL vehicles!!!

    – bicycles
    – bicycle trailers
    – wagons
    – roller skates
    – strollers
    – big wheels
    – tricycles
    – chariots
    – horse-drawn carts
    – unicycles
    – push scooters
    – rickshaws
    – wheeled Flexible Flyers
    – boxcar racers
    – skateboards
    – inline skates
    – street luge sleds
    – wheelchairs
    – wheeled walkers
    – shopping carts
    – shoes – hey, they convey a person, don’t they?

    Let’s get these dangerous vehicles registered RIGHT AWAY!!!!

  • Southeasterner

    My biggest concern is with pedestrians. If they don’t pay gas, sales and property tax should they be allowed to walk on a sidewalk? Shouldn’t they be forced to walk on the road with vehicular traffic (like they do in Houston)? If a toddler can’t pass a walking test they should definitely be banned from sidewalks and forced to toddle on busy roadways.

    Make America Great Again!

  • FartDude

    This is a terrible idea. It’s just a bill, though. Stupid legislators can introduce any kind of stupid bill they want, doesn’t mean it will become law.
    As this is a stupid bill, it should be laughed at, then relegated to the junk pile of stupid bills.

  • keenplanner

    Idiot.

  • thielges

    Yes I read the law and does it have the negative aspects you mentioned. In addition implementation and enforcement would be cumbersome. All that with very little public safety return, maybe even a negative return considering the reduction of safety in numbers.

    I still don’t think that ridiculing somebody’s appearance is productive. It could even lead to backlash. Take the high ground, especially in no brainer cases like this. No need to resort to grade school taunts.

  • Frank Kotter

    Again, I feel it is relevant and appropriate. The equivalent is the guy on bottled oxygen fighting to remove cigarette health warnings and taxes, the billionaire legislating against food stamps….. it’s relevant.

    Yes, in the land of the fat, it is a wedge and I accept that. However, this guy needs to be called out on the hypocrisy he literally embodies.

  • Jason

    I know it’s not polite to make fun of people’s weight, but in this case I think it’s fair to point out that this man doesn’t look like he’s ever ridden a bicycle.

  • thielges

    I guess it depends on what you want to accomplish. If your goal is to shame this guy, then go ahead. But of you want to advance the cause of bicycling you could be shooting your foot.

  • me

    He is a joke, I live in his district right outside of Rochester, MN and he is the worst. He puts as many bills forward as possible so he can pretend he is doing something and get reelected. This bill comes because he was mad about a road that he used during his commute gained a bike lane and he blames it for slowing his morning commute, he went on and on about it at a local town hall meeting once. He is only reelected because of name recognition, as is common in small local elections. I hope he goes next time around.

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