New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering requiring bicyclists to be licensed and registered like automobile drivers currently are.
According to a report in the New York Daily News on Wednesday, the mayor also wants to expand the city’s safety regulations, which already have won it a nanny-state reputation, to include requiring Citi Bike renters to wear helmets.
Mr. de Blasio called the idea of forcing cyclists to have licenses and registration a “valid discussion,” the Daily News reported, and added that he also plans a crackdown on cyclists who break traffic laws.
Advocates of bicycling argued that regulating and licensing something discourages it — the opposite of what the city ought to be doing.
“Requiring helmets and bicycle licensing is counterproductive to Vision Zero because they’re a deterrent to cycling,” Joe Cutrufo, spokesman for advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, told the Daily News. “When you discourage people from riding a bike, fewer people will do it, and the safest cities in the world for riding a bike are the cities where there are the most cyclists.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter that “we need to be encouraging cycling, not creating obstacles.” “These ideas won’t help us increase bike riding in NYC,” he wrote.