Today I learned about several cool bikey things Missoula has to offer. Finally, I encountered an official Missoula bike map, something more comprehensive than the 11”x17” photocopied map given out at the Adventure Cycling Association offices. Sure, the map was last updated in June 2005, and the cover photo was taken in China and not Montana. But it’s more durable than the former, which I’ve already needed to replace once due to a water spill inside my watertight messenger bag.
Then I met Bob Giordano, the head of MIST, who I hear has been instrumental in getting Missoula to be as bike-friendly as it is*. Next, I learned more about Freecycles Missoula, who assures a free bike to anyone and does a bunch of cool community events.
Then I found out about the bike licensing.
“Any person who operates a bicycle within the city limits needs to purchase a city bicycle license. Bike licenses are issued to protect the owner of the bike. You can receive a fine for riding an unlicensed bike within the city limits. If your bike is stolen or lost and recovered, you have a greater chance of getting it back if you have licensed it. Any questions or comments can be directed to the Bicycle Coordinator…”
As a matter of fact, I had many questions:
Bike licenses? Is that really a thing in Missoula? Really? I need to pay $10 to the City of Missoula to ride my bike around for the next 12 weeks? Or else get a fine?
Examining the license form, I found I had a few more questions. What if my bike doesn’t have a serial number? Or a model name? Or if I don’t want to put your license sticker on my bottom bracket? What purpose does this serve? Are the police going to pull me over at random and check my bottom bracket for a sticker? Or is this a program designed to try and track the town’s bicycle trends? The City of Portland (Bike City USA) seems to think that a bike licensing program wouldn’t even pay for its own administrative costs, so what’s so different in Missoula?
Instead of going to the Missoula Bicycle Coordinator, I decided to do a straw poll among my coworkers. As a newbie, it is my preferred method on getting a general reading on anything I’m wondering about at any particular moment. It was also after 5pm so most people were gone, meaning my sample size was one.
The one person I did ask thought it was strange that the subject had come up twice in one day in the office, and no; she doesn’t think anyone actually licenses their bikes.
According to the Missoula Public Library, I am a resident. Thus, according to the City of Missoula dog licensing site, I would need to license Atticus as well, despite our only being in town three months. Just like that license, I plan to openly disregard the bike licensing thing. On the other hand, part of me thinks it would be a real hoot to go through the process to see how it works. Talk to city workers to try and find out more.
What say you, internet readership?
*=The Adventure Cycling Association, a national organization, may have staff members who get involved with the local bike scene, but it is not a priority for the organization as a whole.