The goals of the Mississauga Cycling Master Plan are to foster a culture where cycling is an everyday activity, build an integrated on-road and off-road cycling network as part of a multi-modal transportation system, and adopt a safety-first approach to cycling. The Cycling Master Plan is in alignment with the City’s Strategic Plan, particularly the pillars of MOVE, CONNECT and LIVING GREEN.
As this relates to free and unrestricted transportation choices, we feel that bicycle licensing would not be in alignment with the City’s Strategic Plan. In fact we believe that a licensing requirement for bicycles would be viewed as a deterrence to bicycle use.
Theft deterrence From a theft perspective, bike licenses can easily be removed from a stolen bike. Licensing would not provide an effective theft deterrence. As an alternative there are databases available where bike owners can register their bikes and where police can then find the proper owner of a recovered bicycle.
Minors How would the city enforce licensing of children’s bikes?
Visiting cyclists How would the city enforce licensing of non-residents. Would they spot check ID’s?
Costs Does the bureaucracy justify the potential revenue? The cost to administer such a program and maintain a database would be significant.
Precedents For many of the reasons stated above, no major cities currently have bike licensing policies in force.
In summary, we feel that the best approach to safe cycling is to focus attention and resources on education and infrastructure not on regulation. It is the position of MCAC that bicycle licensing would not serve to advance the goals of the Cycling Master Plan or the overall Strategic Plan for the City of Mississauga.
Photo: 1940s – A boy examines his new bicycle license. Source: www.copenhagenize.com