Local lawmaker wants to require you to have a permit to use bike lanes
A local lawmaker is trying to make it more difficult to safely ride a bicycle.
State Rep. Duane Quam, a Republican from Byron, put forward a bill this week that would require cyclists to register for a permit prior to using urban bike lanes. To obtain the permit, Minnesota residents would need to:
- Attend a bicycle safety education program
- Be at least 15 years of age
- Register the bicycle with the commissioner of public safety
- Pay a fee of $5 to the commissioner of public safety
The permit would then be issued in the form of an individual card, or as an endorsement on a driver's license or Minnesota identification card.
Asked for a rationale behind the bill, Quam told us: "We're having a proliferation of bike lanes and there's good things there. But there aren't any rules and there are people that don't know the rules of the road ... and there's nothing to say a four-year-old can't use the bike lane with their little three-wheel thing."
He added, "Before there's a tragedy that forces us to sit down and do a bill on the quick, let's come in and see what might need to be done."
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota strongly opposes the measure. In a statement released Thursday, the organization said it "absolutely rejects the discriminatory concepts of lane use permits, age requirements, mandatory examination, and fees. Biking and walking are basic rights that all Minnesotans share."
We Bike Rochester, a grassroots bike advocacy group, echoed those concerns — arguing Quam's proposal "would make his constituents less safe."
"We see that he has no co-authors and no companion senate bill," said
Tara Freimund, vice president of We Bike Rochester. "We believe that Minnesota's leadership is better than this. Bicycling is far less costly and less subsidized than most other forms of transportation. Bicycling is important to economic mobility, reduced congestion, reduced health care expenditures, reduced obesity. The goal of the state of Minnesota should be to make bicycling safer, more accessible, and more common."
It's worth noting that Quam's hometown of Byron has zero bike lanes.
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(Cover: Rochester bike lane / Fred on a Bike)