Should Vermonters have to register bicycles? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Should Vermonters have to register bicycles?

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

"I think they've had a free-ride for quite a while and it's time that they need to be part of this," said Sen. Norm McAllister, R-Franklin County.

McAllister represents residents from the Northwest corner of the Green Mountain State. He's proposing a $20 state registration-- similar to a license plate-- for those 18 and older who want to ride bicycles on Vermont roads. He says millions have been poured into widening roads and creating paths for bikers. McAllister says tags would lead riders to adhere to the rules of the road, and help track down stolen bikes. He also sees an opportunity to cash in on Canadian tourists headed south under pedal power.

"It's not a nonstarter, there are many in my camp who would write it off immediately. I have some concerns about, having said that, there are many ways we want to get pedestrians and bicyclists paying their share," said Chapin Spencer of Local Motion.

Spencer points out that all residents pay property taxes which in turn fund local roads. He says informal funding drives successfully fueled repairs to the bike path linking Burlington to the Lake Champlain Islands.

"One of the challenges that this bill over registration of bicycles faces is that the cost to administer the program may likely be larger than the revenue it would take in," Spencer said.

"I kind of heard that, too," McAllister said.

McAllister says he knows his proposal is a work in progress and concedes there's little chance serious discussion gets rolling this year. But he wants to start the debate, in an effort to avoid spinning his wheels down the road.

Senators got a first look at the proposal Tuesday. The measure is currently on the desk of the Transportation Committee.

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