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Number plates for New York City bikes, call

Councillor claims cycle clothing makes carrying ID a problem

New York City’s cyclists will be required to register their machines and carry a number plate, if one of the city’s councillors gets his way, reports the New York Post.

But the Streetsblog website reckons Queens Council Member Eric Ulrich has come down with a nasty case of “legislative diarrhoea.”

The Councillor says he is floating the proposal because; "there seems to be a double standard when it comes to enforcing the traffic laws. Bicycles are involved in accidents, unfortunately, across this city."

Displaying a deep understanding of urban cycling culture and a commendable appreciation of the difficulty of carrying a wallet whilst riding, Councillor Ulrich suggested that many riders involved in accidents are without identification because "they're in Spandex or whatnot."

Ulrich told the Gothamist website: "Being on the road is a privilege, not an absolute right. The city is constantly bending over backwards to accommodate cyclists with the installation of bike lanes and special traffic signals - yet drivers are the only ones who receive tickets for speeding, blowing red lights, and not yielding to pedestrian traffic.

"This is a common sense piece of legislation that will improve safety for everyone. The bottom line is that we all share the road and must follow the same rules."

Not surprisingly cyclists and cycling lobby groups are vehemently opposed to the idea.

"Wearing cycling clothing does not prevent you from carrying identification. Almost all cycling jerseys have multiple pockets," said Andrew Crooks, 34, owner of bicycle shop NYC Velo, told the Post.

"It's not a good use of resources to re-create a system that already exists," he added.

Kim Martineau, a spokeswoman for Transportation Alternatives said her organisation would lobby against such a scheme.

"We're adamantly opposed to any legislation that would require licensing or registration of bicycles. The deterrent effect it would have on cycling would be enormous," she said.

Instead, she called for "better, more targeted enforcement" of existing laws.

Just like other cities around the western world, cycling is enjoying a boom in New York with an estimated 17,000 residents commuting daily by bike and the city building new bike lanes to accommodate them.

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