The View From Prospect Hill – October 10

On October 10, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

There sure are a lot of bicycles buzzing around Somerville these days. More so than ever, it seems. People are opting to utilize them as either a supplemental or primary means of transportation like never before.

This leaves certain questions unanswered in many peoples’ minds. Questions like: Should these vehicles be registered and licensed? Should they be required to be insured, just as motor vehicles are. And what about a vehicle excise tax?

If bicycling is gradually replacing use of the automobile, to whatever degree, then why shouldn’t the owner/operators of them be held to the same responsibilities and obligations as the motorists?

Does it not cost municipalities considerable sums to create bicycle lanes on public thoroughfares? Would registration and licensing not only generate much needed revenue to fund these public works, but also help law enforcement to locate and identify stolen bikes? Wouldn’t anyone putting their personal safety at risk biking on our streets be better off by insuring themselves against accidents and injuries? And as for the excise tax, isn’t what’s good for the goose also as good for the gander?

It’s a constantly changing world, adapting to the needs and challenges of its inhabitants moment by moment. Perhaps this is the time to reevaluate the practical meaning of what makes a vehicle a vehicle, and what it should mean to be a responsible owner/operator of one. Could this possibly lead to a better and fairer system for all concerned? We’re just asking.

 

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