There is no doubt that there is a need to register and license bicycles, especially motorised ones.
However, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is unwilling to do this, saying it is too difficult to maintain a system that has to be constantly updated when bicycles change hands, and because the profile of cyclists is diverse ("LTA: Bicycle licensing not practical"; yesterday).
I have a solution for this.
All bicycles and motorised vehicles should be registered with the LTA on purchase of the vehicle.
This licence number of the vehicle should be registered to an owner, with an IC number for identification.
Children's bicycles should be registered under an adult, such as a parent. What we want is an adult to be responsible for the vehicle.
The LTA just has to keep this register on a computer database.
There is no need to do any transfer of ownership, which was one reason given for not licensing bicycles.
If there is any contravention of traffic rules, the original owner will be responsible. The onus should be on him to show evidence to the contrary.
If the offender is a child, the parent will be responsible.
If it is claimed that the bicycle had been stolen, the owner has to produce a police report.
If it is claimed the bicycle had been sold, the original owner has to produce a document of sale and the IC particulars of the new owner.
If the owner has moved, the new address can be traced with the IC number.
With this method, there is no reason for the LTA not to register and license these vehicles, which are increasing in number and creating a problem for pedestrians.
Recently, I read that hundreds of bicycles are dumped each year, causing a problem. This would not happen if they are registered to an owner who can be traced.
If there is a need for important measures for the good of the public, we should not just dismiss them on the grounds of their being "too difficult to do".
As a Chinese saying goes, there is nothing that is too difficult for one who is determined.
George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)