A proposal by hilljack legislators that would require all bicycles in Georgia to carry an official 4-by-7-inch license plate has raised the ire of cyclists from Brasstown Bald to Stone Mountain. If anyone who plans to pedal a public street in Atlanta is lucky enough, the grandstanding House Bill 689 will die tonight during a public hearing in Gainesville. The Republican-sponsored measure would require each bicycle (from tassel-heavy children's bikes to Tour de France-style speedsters) to carry a license plate, at a cost of $15 per year, or a flat rate of $48. All bicyclists without plates would be subject to a $100 fine and misdemeanor charges. The proposal is the brainchild of three Gainesville lawmakers who are sick and tired of Spandex-clad cyclists clogging up their mountain roads on weekends. As the AJC points out, the measure would also allow communities to ban cyclists from whatever roadway they choose. As to where the revenue from millions of licensed bicycles would go — we haven't heard. But the point could be moot.
The AJC's political guru Jim Galloway asserts that H.B. 689 isn't really supposed to be a law, as much as "an attention-getting two-by-four in a local culture clash." Nevermind that the bill would have implications on tens of thousands of avid cyclists in Atlanta and beyond, in a state that's famously obese. Luckily, as Galloway notes, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle lives near Gainesville and is an avid cyclist. Cagle told the AJC that taxing bicycle-riding youth and adults would be bad policy. "This is not, in my mind, the right public policy decision," Cagle told the newspaper. "We should be encouraging more people to exercise. And cycling is a part of that."
[ABOVE: Beltline image via midtownatl.com]