As a relatively new resident of Idyllwild, I have greatly enjoyed cycling several mornings every week on highways 243 and 74. When first cycling in the area, I noticed how disciplined motorists were, with about 95 percent passing me at a safe distance.
Following the introduction of AB1371 (the 3-feet law) I have noticed this discipline’s slight improvement, to almost 100 percent. This suggests to me that AB1371 is not a major burden, given that the vast majority of local drivers were already fulfilling the spirit of the law before it even came into effect. Personally, I always wave to show my appreciation to motorists who make an extra effort to give me space as they pass.
A proposal to license bicycles is not well conceived. Given the current crisis of poor health affecting Americans (especially children), surely we should be encouraging healthy activities such as bicycle use, not making it more costly.
Would licensing be fair for the majority of cyclists who never ride their bikes on highways? How about the hundreds of mountain bikers who visit Idyllwild annually (making a significant contribution to the local economy) to use our nationally famous dirt tracks, almost none of whom ever take their bikes onto the paved roads?
If California cyclists were taxed to use highways through licensing, I suspect more of them would want to get their money’s worth, and you might find more cyclists on roads than at present. Surely that is the opposite of what proponents of a bicycle license really want.
Incidentally, I own two vehicles, so I pay my fair share of highway taxes already. Of course, I don’t get a discount on my vehicle registrations for the 300-plus days a year they sit idle in the driveway whilst I am out on my bike (although I would happily accept one).
Since I moved to Idyllwild, almost every issue of the Town Crier has reported one or more serious road accidents. None of those has involved a bicycle.
As a driver, I would be far more concerned about reckless users of motorized vehicles on our roads than I am about the occasional cyclist I may encounter. In order to warn drivers of the possibility that they may encounter bicycles, signs along our highways encourage us to “share the road.” That seems like reasonable advice, both literally and figuratively, for everyone to live by.