Cyclist licensing would enhance safety

All bicycles should be licensed, writes Audrey Scammell

Re: Is it time to licence cyclists? (Letters, Aug. 29)

When I moved to Victoria from Hamilton in 1983, I was very surprised that I did not have to purchase a licence for my bike.

As a child in Hamilton, I had to purchase my own licence, which at the time was only 50 cents for a child under the age of 12. After the age of 12, the cost increased. Likewise for those over the age of 16.

As a former journalist, I wanted to do some research on this and called the Hamilton Police Department. The officer said that they no longer licence bicycles, but thought that it would be a good idea to reinstate them.

On Aug. 28, I was driving west on Walnut Street in Victoria when all of a sudden, a girl of about 14 or 15 came barrelling through from Oregon Avenue right in front of me. She didn’t look either way, nor was she wearing a helmet.

She had an earplug in her ear, (probably listening to music, which should be another no-no for bicycle riders), so probably didn’t even hear my car at the intersection. I slammed on my brakes, missing her by only a few inches, yet she didn’t turn around or even act like she heard me and carried on towards Bay Street.

If that girl had a licence on the back of her bike, I would have been able to get her number and would have gladly reported her to the police. Imagine the parents realizing that their lovely daughter was inches away from perhaps a permanent injury, or even death.

That girl will probably never know that she was almost hit. It’s a good thing that I am familiar with that corner and am always careful and looking all around. There is also a playground on that corner and one never knows when a small child is going to run out to chase a ball.

Please licence all bicycles. That way we can report folks with no helmets, close calls and traffic violators.

Audrey Scammell, Victoria