Keating’s Friday Short Blog – My Thoughts on Bicycle Registry and Licensing

I do see the merit in implementing a bicycle registry as an anti-theft measure and to ensure cyclists are enforced by Calgary Police and Bylaw Services.  For one thing, if every bicycle  were on a central registry, it would be easy to return stolen bikes to their owners. Many Canadian cities, such as Toronto, Winnipeg, and Ottawa, have already looked into registry programs. Winnipeg has successfully implemented a program with the principal purpose to deter bicycle theft and facilitate the return of recovered bicycles to their rightful owners. However, this program is voluntary and does not require mandatory licensing. Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians often complain about riders breezing through stop signs, riding on sidewalks, or going the wrong way on streets.  Cyclists that know they can be identified by their bikes may be more likely to follow the rules of the roads.

Some have suggested charging a $30-$35 per year fee to license bikes in order to pay for bike infrastructure. With only 12,000 daily bicycle trips each day into and out of the downtown core this fee would have little effect in terms of paying for infrastructure (Winnipeg charges $6.10 mostly in an effort to recover administrative costs). Ottawa estimated that a bicycle registration program would cost $100,000, but would only bring in about $40,000 in revenue.