Proposed registration not the answer

The arguments for licensing bicycles may make seemingly good sense to some, but they are not cogent enough on a cost-benefit basis to justify registration ("LTA's stance on bike licensing disappointing" by Mr Lim Tong Wah and " 'Too difficult to do' should not be reason to dismiss idea" by Dr George Wong Seow Choon; both published last Saturday).

Nor do they justify the need for a host of supporting systems, including fair workable regulations and insurance coverage, without which registration alone serves little realisable purpose.

What is the proposed registration of bicycles trying to achieve? And on a public-interest basis, does it justify enacting a law to make certain categories of people liable for registration?

Imagine the many three- to 18-year-olds who need to have bicycles registered under an adult's name. Would this not colour wrongly the social fabric and functioning of our society?

Are we not getting intolerant of minor imperfections in the cycling environment? Is the purpose to hold someone responsible at all costs over minor incidents, even if liability cannot be directly traced to an individual without an in-depth investigation?

Is the purpose to claim for compensation or to punish the adult under a criminal or minor offences traffic law, even if the act is caused by a very young person in a park or on a sidewalk?

Let's ask ourselves why we have become so intolerant of cyclists as to seem prejudiced against all of them.

Lim Ang Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Proposed registration not the answer'. Print Edition | Subscribe