Michael DenDekker Explains His Inexplicable Bike License Bill

Remember last month when Council Member Eric Ulrich came out with the idea of creating a complicated new bureaucracy to register and identify New Yorkers who ride bikes, a proposal that would build an expensive and redundant personal identification system on top of our existing ID systems, opening the door to increased harassment of cyclists by law enforcement?

Assembly Member Michael DenDekker

Ulrich never actually got so far as to turn his idea into a bill. And since that time, one of the few American cities that maintained a mandatory bike license scheme — Long Beach, California — decided to call it quits because it wasn’t effective.

But that hasn’t stopped Michael DenDekker, an Assembly member who represents parts of western Queens, from one-upping Ulrich. DenDekker introduced a bill in Albany last week that would require not just bike IDs for adults, but kids’ bikes as well. Every soul in New York state who rides a bike would have to carry one. And don’t forget the inspections — under DenDekker’s bill, which currently has zero co-sponsors in the Assembly, you might get into hot water if your bike doesn’t pass muster every year. Bikes: They’re just like cars.

John del Signore at Gothamist got the Queens Assembly Member to explain himself. In addition to cyclist IDs for children and redundant IDs for adults who ride, DenDekker’s ideal bike enforcement set-up includes an automated system to enforce New York’s non-existent helmet law:

We would put cameras in bicycle lanes to make sure that bicyclists are wearing their helmets and have their lights on and are riding in a manner which is accustomed to the lane or if they’re being reckless and endangering and hurting others. I believe it also gives more credibility to bicyclists, making them more a part of the road.

No word yet on whether DenDekker wants bicycles to pass emissions tests too.