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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Pennsylvania Rep Wants to Mandate Reflective Clothes for Biking at Night

|
Today in bad ideas, Bike Pittsburgh reports that Pennsylvania State Representative Anthony DeLuca wants state traffic code to mandate that anyone riding a bike at night wear reflective clothing. Bike Pittsburgh points out that this type of law opens the door to selective enforcement and harassment by police. Requiring people to purchase and carry special apparel […]

WSJ Invites More Ignorant Anti-Bike Zealots to Sully Its Pages

|
Law professor Frank H. Buckley seems to want to be the next Dororthy Rabinowitz. That is, he wants to gain notoriety by clinging to old and unsafe street designs while, simultaneously, shoring up the Wall Street Journal’s reputation as a bastion of change-averse curmudgeons. Done and done. Buckley wrote an op-ed in Friday’s Journal about […]

One More Legal Hurdle for Texas Cyclists

|
In the state of Texas, local authorities continue to chip away the legal rights of bicyclists. Two weeks ago we featured the story of Reed "ChipSeal" Bates, who was convicted of "reckless driving" for exercising his legal right to ride in a travel lane in Ennis, Texas. Now, the town of Bartonville has passed a […]

Bicycling Means Business: How Cycling Enriches People and Cities

|
If bicyclists want to convince policymakers of the benefits of cycling, they need to stop talking about cycling. That was one major lesson of this year’s National Bike Summit, thanks to some strategic research done by a friendly consultant. So the Summit’s theme was “Bicycling Means Business” – and the economic impacts of a healthy […]