Bike fees? A 2-sided ques­tion

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - FRANK FELLONE

Dear Ma­hatma: Would it be un­rea­son­able to re­quire bi­cy­clists to help pay for all the bike trails and bike lanes in the Lit­tle Rock area by re­quir­ing bike reg­is­tra­tion fees?

— Non-Cy­cler Bill Dear Bill: Our first re­ac­tion to this idea was that reg­is­ter­ing bi­cy­cles is non­sen­si­cal.

Ha! As The Fab­u­lous Babe of­ten says — wrong again.

There are in­deed cities around this great na­tion that re­quire bi­cy­cles to be reg­is­tered. As in, Honolulu.

In that Hawai­ian city, all bi­cy­cles with wheels 20 inches or larger are re­quired to be reg­is­tered. A one-time fee is $15; when own­er­ship of a bi­cy­cle is trans­ferred, the fee is $5.

The owner gets a de­cal to be af­fixed to the bi­cy­cle frame’s seat tube fac­ing in the for­ward di­rec­tion. Bi­cy­cle reg­is­tra­tion is ad­min­is­tered by the city’s De­part­ment of Cus­tomer Ser­vices, which we be­lieve ev­ery city should have. Money raised goes to projects that im­prove and en­hance bi­cy­cling.

Wait. We’re wrong again. Or in­com­plete. Hawaii. gov, the of­fi­cial web­site of the Aloha State, re­ports that bi­cy­cle reg­is­tra­tion is statewide, and is ad­min­is­tered — in ad­di­tion to Honolulu — by the state’s three coun­ties.

But your ques­tion — is it un­rea­son­able to li­cense bi­cy­cles in these parts and use the fees for bike trails and bike lanes?

Darned if we know. That’s both a le­gal ques­tion and a po­lit­i­cal ques­tion.

We have scoured the state’s trans­porta­tion code (fee is $1.50 an hour, based on our ex­per­tise) and find noth­ing that would al­low or pro­hibit a mu­nic­i­pal­ity from im­pos­ing a fee. Please note, our law de­gree came from the back of a box of Rice Krispies.

The po­lit­i­cal part is more in­ter­est­ing. Could the Lit­tle Rock Board of Direc­tors, or the North Lit­tle Rock City Coun­cil, be per­suaded to im­pose li­cens­ing and fees? Could the Gen­eral Assem­bly be per­suaded to pass leg­is­la­tion that specif­i­cally gives coun­ties and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties the author­ity to li­cense bi­cy­cles and as­sess fees?

Ex­er­cise your con­sti­tu­tional right to pe­ti­tion govern­ment, dear reader. Please keep us in­formed.

Dear Ma­hatma: Driv­ing In­ter­state 30 be­tween Lit­tle Rock and Ben­ton there are signs that say “Trucks Use Two Right Lanes.” Is this a law, or a kind sug­ges­tion? Ev­ery time I drive this span of I-30, trucks are us­ing all lanes. Just won­der­ing.

— Karen Dear Karen: Jay Thomp­son, chief of the Ar­kan­sas High­way Po­lice, tells us this is not a sug­ges­tion. And that his agency — whose main mis­sion is en­force­ment of laws per­tain­ing to com­mer­cial truck­ing and road­ways — has is­sued nearly 500 ci­ta­tions so far this year for dis­obey­ing a traf­fic con­trol de­vice, some of which were for truck­ers who failed to heed this par­tic­u­lar ad­mon­ish­ment.

He also urges reg­u­lar folks to share the road with truck­ers. His of­fi­cers some­times see non­com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles fail­ing to give truck­ers the op­por­tu­nity to move over on this part of I-30 by pass­ing in the right two lanes.

In other words, peo­ple, share the road.

Van­ity plate on a Mer­cedes: JOB­LESS.

fjfel­lone@gmail.com

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