Proposed law would mean Ga. bicyclists need license

Proposed law would mean Ga. bicyclists need license

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Lawmakers are proposing a change for bikers in Georgia, and it would cost them. Lawmakers are proposing a change for bikers in Georgia, and it would cost them.
HALL COUNTY, Ga. -

A large crowd turned out in Gainesville on Monday to oppose a new proposal that would require bicyclists to have a license plate.

The proposal would mean you'd pay a $15 fee to register your bike, and a fine of up to $100 if you don't register it.  The license plate would have to be attached to the back of your bike, just like a car.

The bill was introduced by three north Georgia lawmakers who said they heard from constituents complaining about dangerous encounters with bikes.

Brent Buice, executive director of Georgia Bikes, says the proposal is ridiculous, and the measure is punitive in other ways as well.  He says it would allow communities to ban bikes on their roads, and it would also include bizarre requirements of people riding as a group.

State Rep. Carl Rogers sponsored House Bill 689, but said that he doesn't intend to charge cyclists a tag fee; he just wants to address the concerns of his constituents in Hall County.

Rogers recognizes it's an uphill battle, but said that he just wants to bring attention to the problems cyclists can cause on a busy road.

Rogers said that his bill would require all cyclists -- including children -- to register with the state.

Cycling coach Robert Wilhite was among many cyclists who turned up a hearing in Hall County to speak out against the proposal. Wilhite was escorted out of the meeting when he went over his allotted time.

"I'm outraged. This is the government. This is a perfect example of how the government over reaches," said Wilhite.

Even Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-27th District) -- one of the sponsoring representatives -- spoke out against the bill.

"I didn't write the bill, but a license for a bicycle makes about as much sense as a license for a jogger," Hawkins said.

Representatives from the cycling groups told FOX 5's George Franco that lawmakers promised to pull the bill. Some hoped that the proposal would open up new dialogue between bicyclists and motorists.

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