Proposed bill would require bikes driven on North Carolina roads to be registered

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- When the sun is out and temperatures are mild, we see more cyclists out on the streets of Raleigh. Bike shop manager Matt McGrain is among the two-wheel commuters making the most of a beautiful day.

"Yeah, it's been great," he said. "It finally stopped raining, and I do like the commute. Just kind of wakes you up, gets you in there, a little bit more energy."

Freedom is very important to McGrain as he rolls along his morning journey.

"Like you said, just jumping on your bike. I'm going to work soon; I've got an hour, just seeing the town!"

So he's interested in learning more about a bill sponsored by state representative Jeffrey Elmore of Wilkes County.

If approved by the North Carolina General Assembly, it would require cyclists 16 and older to register their bikes and pay an annual fee of $10 for each bike used on public streets and highways.

McGrain was skeptical at first: "I'm not sure how registering bikes, on a personal level, would go over, especially with a fee attached to it."

Unlike car drivers, cyclists would not be required to apply for a certificate of title. The fees paid would be used by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for bike safety projects, including grants to buy helmets for young cyclists.

"If it goes back to cycling safety, bike lanes, that could be a wonderful thing," said McGrain after reading part of the draft bill.

It stated that when the $10 fee is paid, cyclists would get registration cards and plates to display on the rear of their bikes.

"I think $10 is reasonable," cyclist Shannon Benedetto said. "It's something I'd be willing to pay."

Failure to register a bike would mean a fine of $25. If approved, the fee policy would be effective Dec. 1, 2019, with a six-month grace period.

During that time, cyclists would receive warnings from authorities if they're stopped for registration checks and can't provide proof of compliance.
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