Ottawa considers licensing bicycles

Canadian capital weighs up pros and cons of the controversial move
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Cyclists in Ottawa, Canada, could be faced with having to licence their bikes if a report due later this year backs the idea, reports the Ottawa Citizen.

After a constituent suggested the idea Councillor Bob Monette commissioned a report investigating the possibility. Monette is undecided on whether he backs the idea of licencing bikes or not.

He said the pros for such a scheme would include returning stolen bikes to their owners more easily, and also to help curb those cyclists that don’t follow the laws of the road.

A line-up of the pros and cons of bicycle licensing (clue: there are more cons than pros) can be found here.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is against any move to licence bicycles as the scheme would be costly (around $100,000 a year according to the OC) with licence fees not even covering half that cost. More importantly, Watson fears licencing would put cyclists off riding.

"It discourages cycling. We shouldn't put an impediment of another government requirement in the way of something we want people to do."

He added that cyclists alleviate the stress put on roads by motorised traffic and hit out at the claim that licenced bikes would be easier to return to owners if stolen, saying the first thing a thief would do is cut off the licence plate.

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