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By Erin Smith

If you live in North Carolina and ride a bicycle on the state’s roadways, you may soon have to register your bicycle.

NC House Bill 157, called the DMV/Registration of Bicycles, calls for persons 16 years old or older, who ride a bicycle on publicly-owned streets or highways, to register their bicycle with the NC Department of Motor Vehicles. If the bill is approved, the proposed cost for the registration will be $10.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said the tax could potentially cause people to stop riding their bicycles for exercise and called the bill counter productive.

He explained that the state, along with many municipalities, have been promoting cycling as a healthy lifestyle activity. This bill could negatively impact those promotions.

The bill does not specify what will happen with bicycle-related events that utilize publicly-owned roads for their courses. Madden said he believes the bill as it is written could potentially impact future events using public roadways such as the GrapeEscape bicycle event.

“The Grape Escape is held entirely on public roads,” said Madden. “I think it will discourage cycling in general.”

The bill, proposed by NC Rep. Jeffrey Elmore of North Wilkesboro, calls for the funds to be utilized to offer bicycle safety programs and projects. Madden pointed out there is already a revenue stream in place for those types of programs. He explained the NC Department of Transportation offers grant programs for the construction of bike paths and bike lanes. Madden explained bike path and bike lane projects have to compete for grant funding against other road projects.

According to the bill, Department of Motor Vehicles would provide a specialized registration plate for the bicycle. Owners will not have to apply for a title for the bicycle.

If the bill is approved, failing to properly register the bicycle will result in a $25 fine. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation for review.

The Cape Fear Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (Cape Fear SORBA) is encouraging North Carolinians to contact their Representatives to let them know what they think about the proposal. Those wishing to comment on the proposal can reach Rep. Elmore by calling 919-733-5935 or 336-667-0345. He can also be reached by email at jeffrey.elmore@ncleg.net.

BladenOnline.com reached out to Rep. Elmore for a comment but that request was unreturned as of press time.

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