Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant last month proposed that all bikes in Anchorage be registered, pay a fee, or be fined for not doing so.
There was hell to pay.
This week, in the face of mounting criticism and ridicule, Constant backed off from his proposal.
Constant is concerned that bikes are being stolen, taken apart and sold for parts. His idea was to register bicycles, provide stickers for them, so they could be more easily traced once stolen. Critics said it was blaming the bike owners for the problem of increasing crime in the city.
The Anchorage Assembly was set to take up the question on the Oct. 23 agenda, but once the idea hit Facebook, there was a firestorm of opposition.
In other communities that have tried registering bikes, the cost of registration and management of the fees and fines far outweighed the benefits.
Honolulu, however, does require bikes to sport a current registration sticker. But a similar measure in Seattle failed in the 1970s.
Seattle Department of Transportation said that the cost of mandatory bicycle license programs have not worked out in Los Angeles or Detroit, where they’ve been tried.
One thing Assemblyman Constant is correct about: The city’s greenbelts are littered with bikes that have been taken apart, with non valuable parts left abandoned.
Every year a thousand or more bikes are stolen in Anchorage. But there is a voluntary registration system that is posted at the municipality’s web site. You can access it here.