Should Everett Enforce Bicycle License Laws?

March 16, 2016

Everett, Everett Government


An original Everett bicycle license is on display at Bayside Bikes in downtown Everett. Photo credit: Eric Smith

Bicycle license

Should bicycles in Everett be licensed?

A recent inquiry from citizen activists on bicycle laws in the City of Everett is bringing up some interesting questions.

At the citizen comment portion of a city council meeting in early March Jackie Minchew inquired about the legality of bicycles on city sidewalks.

After doing some checking the Everett City Attorney’s office responded that the City of Everett has adopted the “Washington Model Traffic Ordinance” Chapter 308 – 330 WAC as the traffic ordinance of the City of Everett. That would include WAC 308-330-555 which states:

Bicycles—Riding on sidewalks.

(1) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in a business district.
(2) A person may ride a bicycle on any other sidewalk or any roadway unless restricted or prohibited by traffic control devices.
(3) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.90.010. WSR 94-01-082, § 308-330-555, filed 12/13/93, effective 7/1/94.]

So while that answers the question of riding on the sidewalk another citizen, has asked the following…

In that case, can you please explain why the Everett Police Department is not issuing bicycle license plates, as required by sections 500 through 530, or issuing traffic citations for riding a bicycle without a proper license plate, as required by 560?
No person who resides within the jurisdiction of the local authority shall ride or propel a bicycle on any highway or upon any public path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles unless such bicycle has been licensed and a license plate or decal is attached thereto as provided in WAC 308-330-500 through 308-330-540.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.90.010. WSR 94-01-082, § 308-330-500, filed 12/13/93, effective 7/1/94.]
Application for a bicycle license and license plate or decal shall be made upon a form provided by and to the chief of police. An annual license fee as prescribed by the local authority shall be paid to the local authority before each license or renewal thereof is granted. Duplicate license plates or decals may be supplied for the same cost as the original plate or decal in the event of loss of the plate or decal.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.90.010. WSR 94-01-082, § 308-330-505, filed 12/13/93, effective 7/1/94.]

(1) The chief of police upon receiving proper application therefor is authorized to issue a bicycle license which shall be effective for one calendar year.
(2) The chief of police shall not issue a license for any bicycle when he/she knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not the owner of, or entitled to the possession of, such bicycle.
(3) The chief of police shall keep a record of the number of each license, the date issued, the name and address of the person to whom issued, and a record of all bicycle license fees collected by him.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.90.010. WSR 94-01-082, § 308-330-510, filed 12/13/93, effective 7/1/94.]
Violation of any provision of WAC 308-330-500 through 308-330-540 is a traffic infraction.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.90.010. WSR 94-01-082, § 308-330-560, filed 12/13/93, effective 7/1/94.] reached out to City of Everett Public Information Director Meghan Pembroke who sent us the following via e-mail:

On the bicycle question, we are currently reviewing the regulations and expect to have more information to share in the next couple of weeks.

The bicycle license requirement raises some interesting questions…

Would a license issued to each bicycle in the City of Everett help cut down on bike theft?

Would fees from licenses help Everett to advance its bicycle master plan?

Would it be too big a burden on the Everett Police Department to issue the licenses and enforce the license requirements? will follow as the City of Everett studies the issue and we’ll pass along what we learn.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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9 Responses to “Should Everett Enforce Bicycle License Laws?”

  1. cazzjm Says:

    Omg, really, now we are going to restrict kids from riding bikes. Wake up people!

  2. Niemands Says:

    I suspect it would be a further burden on the police. It doesn’t appear that they enforce any laws as it is. People breaking into homes, stealing anything that’s in their line of vision, dropping garbage and needles as they like, speeding, running stop signs, hit and runs, doing drugs in public, hookers walking the streets, the list goes on. What’s going on here? Are they understaffed, hiding out? No more laws until they can enforce the ones that are already on the books!

  3. Cyclist Says:

    As a cyclist desiring to abide by the law, it would be nice if the traffic signals detected cyclists which are sticking to the road. I often have to pop off the road onto the sidewalk to push the crosswalk button or the light won’t change. Also, I’ve had motorists honk at me for using the road. Law-abiding cyclists are in a lose-lose situation here, especially since there are so many negligent cyclists darting around wherever they please, disregarding all signals, laws and rules. We are despised by motorists and pedestrians alike. Also, most bike racks in the downtown business district are located midblock and are not directly accessible from the street due to parked cars. If you want cyclists to stay on the road in the business district, put the bike racks on the side of the road, just off the sidewalk or don’t allow street parking directly in front of the bike rack which might be installed on the sidewalk. Also, I don’t own a car and have ridden my bike many times with a ‘salad bowl’ on my head while wearing my pantyhose.

    I oppose the bike licensing unless traffic signal detection is improved and bike rack placement is considered.

    • AnotherEverettRes Says:

      Seconded!! Any of you that complain about commuter cyclists (the ‘better’ behaved ones… usually) has better try a ride yourself to see what we put up with.

  4. James Epperson Says:

    How would they enforce this when they refuse to enforce the laws on red light running, speeding on Evergreen, all the one headlight cars on the roads and the granddaddy city council feelgood law of them all, no fireworks.

  5. Bourne Says:

    I agree. I rarely if ever see the consummate cyclist whose clad in pantyhose with those ridiculous looking salad bowls on their heads.

  6. Bourne Says:

    They should pay the same licensing fees I do on my motorcycles—which are the same fees as my car. Figure that one out.

  7. Eleanore Says:

    Most of the “cyclists” I see in Everett are scruffy bearded grown men on bmx bikes or tweekers on other bicycles…