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.

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