NOPD offers free bike registration

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The New Orleans Police Department, with the Fraternal Order of Police and Bike Easy, will offer bicyclists free licenses and registration from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5.

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Bicycle registration typically is $3, but for bikes without a receipt, the city requires a notarized affidavit, and total registration can cost up to $35. At the event, Bike Easy will pay the notary, and the Fraternal Order of Police will pay the licensing fee. To register, bring your bike and a photo ID. Bike Easy also will offer free bicycle safety training from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In 2010, New Orleans City Council was set to consider a sweeping bike registration ordinance but it was pulled from the agenda. It would've updated the existing law — adopted in 1987 and requiring each bike pay a $3 registration fee — to enforce a $15 fee.

Under current city ordinances, "No person who resides in the city shall ride or propel a bicycle upon any street unless such bicycle has been registered and a registration plate is attached thereto." (Bicycles valued at less than $100 are exempt.) Bicyclists found without proper registration could be fined up to $100.

Several other U.S. cities have implemented registration programs in an effort to curb theft. Detroit enacted a 2008 ordinance calling for police to fine cyclists that didn't present a $1 registration sticker; a month later, the city council repealed the law. Oregon's House Bill 3008, a proposal for cyclists to cough up a $54 fee every two years to pay for roadwork and bike facilities, underwent considerable scrutiny and vigorous protests from the biking community — and subsequently died.

Visit Bike Easy's website for more information.

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