During the 2008-2009 budget year, the city of San Jose collected $636 in bike license fees. For many residents, even the existence of such a fee may be unheard of, as an increasing number of cities have long since abandoned bicycle fees, which were first implemented to help authorities recover stolen bikes. And now it appears San Jose will also add its name to the list of cities that are doing away with bicycle license fees in light of few people actually observing the mandate. A recent audit recommended that the city should either actually enforce the provision or drop it altogether, so it appears the council will favor the latter by striking the requirement from the municipal code. Mercury reports:
“Neither station kept a locked cash box to store the fee receipts, the audit found. And although police were supposed to establish a license database where the information could be accessed to aid in recovering stolen bikes, they had not done so, telling the auditors they were too short-staffed. Other cities have had similar experiences. Los Angeles abandoned its bicycle licensing program last year.”
Seattle and San Francisco’s programs are also no longer in place and LA’s Department of Transportation noted that revenue was far too low to fund a database for authorities to recover stolen bikes. According to the DMV, a city cannot charge more than $4 a year for a new bicycle license and $2 a year for renewal. For more, see here.