Alexandria's Police Department is asking the city to retain an ordinance that
requires businesses that buy or sell bikes to “report to the police chief every bicycle purchased or sold … as well as the name and address of the person from whom it is purchased or to whom it is sold.”
Police officials argue that the provision helps them keep track of stolen bikes as well as more easily identify thieves and the owners of recovered bicycles. Although the longstanding section of the code was never enforced, officials hope to set up a registry in the near future.
But bike shop owners said such a registry would prove onerous to implement as well as inefficient compared with databases that they already recommend to buyers.
Some store owners want to see the city use the National Bike Registry the way DC does. It is cheaper and it does carry a network effect advantage. What if you buy a bike in Alexandria but it's recovered by the Arlington Police Department? When my wife bought her bike, it came pre-registered with the National Bike Registry.
Bruce Dwyer, a member of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said that although the committee has not taken an official position on the issue, he thinks using the national registry would be a better solution for police.
Furthermore, the police don't currently have a registry or a timetable for getting one.
The AlexTimes weighs in
We could make the case that this is an invasion of privacy — there’s probably a bad NSA joke in here somewhere — but the logical and practical arguments strike us as compelling enough. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel — just encourage cyclists to sign their ride up with the National Bike Registry.
The proposed ordinance BTW
makes changes to the City code regarding riding bicycles on the sidewalk, sets up a process for demarcating sidewalks on which bicycle riding would be prohibited, eliminates antiquated and unused bicycle registration procedures and makes changes to rules for riding that are consistent with state law, which applies in neighboring jurisdictions.
There's a lot of good stuff in there besides removing registration and allowing sidewalk cycling. It redefines a bicycle and defines things like paths and bike lanes. It removes the requirement to ride right. It removes the requirement to use a bike path when one is available (who knew?). It allows for riding up to two abreast. It allows for parking bikes in more places. It requires front and rear lights, but removes the requirement for bells. And finally it changes the standard for helmets that those under 14 must wear.