Council Votes to Make Bike Registration Voluntary

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The Council voted on Tuesday to make bike registration voluntary in Long Beach.

At their Tuesday meeting February 8, the City Council acted in unison to make bicycle registration voluntary instead of mandatory in the city of Long Beach.

“We are now one step closer to becoming America’s most bike friendly city,” said Councilmember Robert Garcia of the First District. “Our mandatory system was antiquated and inefficient, and the new voluntary system is accessible, fair, and supports families, avid cyclists, and visitors to our City.”

Tuesday’s unanimous vote has been months in the making. It started with a Critical Mass event last October where 70 cyclists received citations for disobeying traffic laws and 21 bikes were impounded for not having required safety equipment (including bikes with no brakes). Some cyclists claimed that police were taking advantage of an archaic law to harass citizens.

Voluntary Bike Registration

In December, Garcia introduced a motion cosponsored by Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmember Gary DeLong, that directed the City Manager to look into the feasibility, costs and benefits of replacing the registration requirement with a voluntary program.

This week, the council voted to adopt staff’s recommendation and replace the bike registration requirement with a voluntary system.

“Now we can continue to move forward with other actions, such as the protected bike lanes, a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, and other opportunities to enhance and improve the cycling experience in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “My thanks to City staff, the Police, and especially the cycling community for coming out to support this.”

National Bike Registry to Replace City Requirements

Without the requirements in place, the City will cease managing a local registration program and instead direct cyclists to the web-based National Bike Registry, which is used by many cities throughout the country.

Since 1984, the National Bike Registry (NBR®) has been working with law enforcement to return stolen bikes to their rightful owners. A bike registered with NBR, the only true national database, can be identified by police and returned to you instead of being sold at an auction.

Cyclists that register a bike in the National Bike Registry will receive a Certificate of Registration and a tamper-resistant NBR label to identify their bike. The registry works with a network of police departments coast-to-coast who look for the NBR label and can easily report recovered bicycles. So, if the bike is ever stolen and recovered, no matter where, it can be returned to its owner.

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