North Carolina bill would require riders to register bicycles, pay fee

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A new bike bill rolling into North Carolina could force riders to pay up.

A proposed bill would require people in North Carolia register their bicycles with the Division of Motor Vehicles.

House Bill 157 would require anyone 16-years-old and up to register their bike at the DMV. It would also set an annual registration fee of $10.

"You have to pay for a bicycle?"

Riders would be issued registreation plates to be attached to the back of their bicycle. Those who fail to pay the registration would face a $25 fine.

Fees from House Bill 157 would be used for bike safety projects like the construction of more bike lanes. 

Enforcement of the bill would be the responsibility of any law enforcement agency with the appropriate authority and jurisdiction.  It would not be the exclusive responsibility of MCSO.It's unclear how the bill would impact wait time at the DMV. 

"Even if I don't use the bicycle, I have to pay $10?" asked Claribel Vega who says she stood in line at the DMV for two hours.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the average wait times at the south Charlotte and east Charlotte DMV offices is 42 minutes. The west Charlotte and Huntersville offices average less than 30 minutes. These wait times apply just to driver license offices.

Wait times aren’t measured at license plate agencies where registrations are completed

NCDOT, which oversees the DMV, said it is monitoring the bill as it goes through te early stages of the legislative process.

Community members say the proposed legislation discriminates against low income families.

"You think about the fact that people have made the decision to use a bike to get to school it's for a reason. Many times, they can't afford a car. To add an additional charge and possible fine, that's harm," said Reverend Corina Mack with the NAACP.

The bill is in its early stages, but would go into effect December first if it is passed.

"If that's something that does become law, I definitely want to see the benefit for cyclists," said avid cyclist Isael Majia.

FOX 46 reached out to the sponsor of the bill Republican Representative Jeffrey Elmore. We haven't heard back.

Supporters of the bill say cyclists should have to register their bikes as they have access to surface streets.

"I consider myself an experienced cyclist. I feel comfortable riding in the road when there's a bike lane or not. I know how to signal and safety. All that and I still didn't feel safe riding on Charlotte streets," said Mejia.

This story was reported on from Charlotte, N.C.