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The great Victoria bike rego debate

When Shane Warne threw it out on Twitter the other week that bicycles should be registered, the question quickly gathered the unstoppable momentum of a Chappelli fixie down Bondi road.

While Warnie wasn’t necessarily able to flesh out the reasons why his demand made good sense – at least, not in 140 characters – Fairfax’s Bruce Guthrie soon shed some light on it.

“That’s the root of the problem, isn’t it? That motorists, motorcyclists, truck drivers and just about any other road user you care to name has to fork out hundreds of dollars each year for the right to use our roads, but cyclists are not required to spend a penny, or be identified.”

“Well, no, Bruce,” was the resounding response of the Twitter-sphere, of concerned bicyclists, fixie groups and cycling bodies.

Paul Martin, a doctor, bike activist and member of Brisbane’s Bicycle User Group was just one who was quick to tell us the main arguments against registration that have recently been circulating on sites such as Alan Davies’ TheUrbanist on Crikey.

And more credit to Paul for doing it all in 140-character nuggets (in a response as classy, modern and simple as a one of our classic single speeds).

1) Won’t prevent law-breaking – doesn’t prevent motorists running reds, speeding, etc.

2) Registration is a tax on ‘road damage’ not a ticket to ‘own’ the roads. Bicycle rego would be about $1 per year.

3) Admin costs wouldn’t be covered by the registration costs (net loss)

4) How big would number plate have to be to be visible at a distance?

5) Personally, registration for motorists should be abolished. Costs should be added to fuel. more you drive, the more you pay

In Bruce’s defence he did make a pertinent point when he said: “Bicycle registration might at least begin to heal the rift between riders and motorists.” But then again, if fewer riders got hit by cars then that rift might also be smaller.

…And if you even wanted to know what Hitler might think of bike registration, the Weekly Cycle has the answer.

So what do you think – should bicycles be registered? Or is there a better way to ‘heal the rift’ between cyclists and riders?