Note: Since originally running this story, WAMU has released another story with an opposite conclusion. Namely that Alexandria is looking to removing the registration requirement.
Bucking the national trend against bicycle registration, Alexandria is considering modifying and enforcing its long ignored mandatory bicycle registration law. If you're riding an unregistered bike in Alexandria, you're a scofflaw cyclist and you're making the rest of us look bad.
As it turns out, nobody registers their bicycle because nobody knows about the provision, which dates back to 1963. Wilson says city officials are now looking at the existing policy to determine what kind of changes might be needed to enforce the measure.
The only change needed is to get rid of the law. It doesn't raise any revenue, it doesn't improve safety and it doesn't help with stolen bike return (besides, we don't require anyone to register other oft-stolen items like cell phones or purses). It does lead to abuse by the police though. Which is why DC got rid of the law.
During a recent public hearing, Old Town resident Kathryn Papp said mandatory registration would be a good idea.
"Cars are registered and charged a fee. Motorcycles are registered and charged a fee," Papp says. "Almost every vehicle on the roadway is registered and charged a fee."
Papp says registration would also make stolen bicycles easier to recover, and revenues from a small annual fee could go towards building addition bicycle facilities.
Here's another person making the false fairness claim. We could just as easily extend that claim to pedestrians. It doesn't make any sense to decide on the one hand that we want more people to bike and fewer to drive - and that is what government repeatedly says - and then tax biking.
As for recovering stolen bikes, there are plenty of things that Alexandria could do to make this better. They could start by posting photos of recovered bikes online like Arlington does.