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Press Releases - County Council

Council introduces bill to repeal mandatory bicycle registration requirement and prohibit impoundment of unregistered personal-use bikes

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 22, 2020—Yesterday the Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 2-20, Bicycles – Registration – Amendments, which would repeal the authority to impound an unregistered personal use bicycle. Bill 2-20 would make registration voluntary for a bicycle owned by a County resident for personal use. Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Evan Glass and Hans Riemer are the lead sponsors. Council President Sidney Katz is a cosponsor. The goal of this legislation is to eliminate a regulatory burden on residents who own bicycles. A citation of a Silver Spring-area cyclist was covered by Reason magazine last month.

“Montgomery County wants to do everything it can to encourage cycling—that’s why I’m excited to repeal the county’s outdated bicycle registration law. There is no reason for the County to use limited police resources to enforce a widely-ignored law that does not advance public safety,” said Council Vice President Hucker, who chairs the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee.

“Our laws should be focused on keeping people safe and serving the public interest,” said Councilmember Jawando. “Too often we have old laws on the books that are enforced in ways they were never intended to be, resulting in over-policing that harms our society. In order to begin to rectify that problem, I am proud to join my colleagues in sponsoring this bill which will eliminate burdens on cyclists throughout the County and prevent police from seizing privately owned bicycles that may be a person’s only form of transportation. This is one of many steps we need to take to move our County forward.”

“It’s ridiculous that Montgomery County residents currently have to register their bicycles with the police department,” said Councilmember Glass. “The law requiring bicycle registration has been on the books since 1995; it’s time we update this arcane law and stop criminalizing residents who own bicycles. It’s our responsibility to keep pedaling towards more fair and modern transportation policies.”

“This law has outlived its usefulness, if it had any to begin with,” said Councilmember Riemer. “We should repeal it.”

County law currently requires residents to register each bicycle used on a public street, right-of-way or bicycle path in the County. This law has been on the books for more than 25 years. It also authorizes the Montgomery County Police Department or the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Police to impound an unregistered bicycle until it is registered, donated to a charitable organization or disposed of as provided for abandoned vehicles.

Bill 2-20 would make registration of a bicycle owned by a County resident for personal use voluntary and repeal the authority to impound a personal use bicycle due to the owner’s failure to register it. The bill would continue the mandatory registration of bicycles used as rentals in the County and continue to permit the impoundment of unregistered rental bicycles. Finally, the bill would repeal the requirement to deposit the proceeds from the sale of an impounded or abandoned bicycle in the Police Relief and Retirement Fund.

The Council staff report for Bill 2-20 can be viewed here:

Council Vice President Hucker’s remarks during the introduction of Bill 2-20 can be viewed here:

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Release ID: 20-021
Media Contact: Dave Kunes 240-777-7970