Council Introduces Bill to Make Bicycle Registration Voluntary

County residents would no longer be required to register their bicycles under terms of legislation introduced yesterday by the County Council.

Bill 2-20, Bicycles – Registration – Amendments would make registration voluntary for bicycles owned for personal use. It also would repeal county and park police authority to impound an unregistered bike.

“It’s certainly a law that I think most people were unaware of,” Council Vice President Tom Hucker (D-District 5), one of the lead sponsors, said during the introduction. “It makes registration voluntary for bicycle owners who wish to be able to use the program to access their bike in the event it becomes lost or stolen.

“There is no reason for the county to use limited police resources to enforce a widely ignored law that does not advance public safety,” Hucker added in a press release.

The councilmembers decided to repeal the law after Silver Spring resident Steve Silverman documented his interaction with Montgomery County police that resulted in a criminal violation for having an unregistered bicycle. Silverman’s video received over 100,000 views, and was covered by Fox 5, Democracy Now!, Reason magazine and others, according to an email sent to the Source by a council staff member.

“Our laws should be focused on keeping people safe and serving the public interest,” said Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Larrge) in the release. “Too often we have old laws on the books that are enforced in ways they were never intended to be, resulting in over-policing that harms our society.”

The bill would continue the mandatory registration of bicycles used as rentals in the county and continue to permit the impoundment of unregistered rental bicycles, among other provisions.

Councilmembers Evan Glass and Hans Riemer (both D-At Large) also are lead sponsors of the bill, and Council President Sidney Katz (D-District 3) signed on as a cosponsor.

Photo released without attribution and free of copyrights under Creative Commons CCO.

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