Bike To Work Day 2018

Bicyclists meet up for April 2018's Bike to Work Day in New Orleans.

Registering your bike with the city is no longer mandatory, following the New Orleans City Council’s amendment of the rule that had spotty enforcement, if any, or resulted in massive fines that were disproportionate to the cost of the sticker.

The measure comes from District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who said that while the intent was good, it was “unworkable and penalties for being unregistered are currently unproportionate.”

The move changes private, personal use bike registration from mandatory to voluntary. Bikes used by bike rental companies still must be registered with the city. That part of the change takes effect immediately.

Starting in 2019, bike registration will move from the New Orleans Police Department to the Department of Safety & Permits, and the registration fee will go up from $3 to $5.

The measure also allows the city to set up mobile bike registration stations. In a statement, Palmer encouraged people to continue to register, in the event their bikes are stolen.

According to NOPD records provided to Gambit, the city collected nearly $14,000 in fines and fees for riders' failure to register their bikes and from bike registrations. That includes $4,665 this year as of August 2018, as well as $5,850 in 2017 and $3,408 in 2016.

The change followed reports of a bicyclist that faced a nearly $1,000 ticket, which included a more than $150 fine for not registering their bike — once again bringing to light a 30-year-old, often-complicated registration requirement for bicycles.

Current law requires people with bikes valued at more than $100 or with wheels larger than 20 inches in diameter register their information with the NOPD and pay a $3 fee. Bikes worth less than $100 can have the fee waived. Registration is available at bike shops for new purchases, or at NOPD district stations, which require a form and notarized affidavit proving ownership of the bike.

In 2010, the City Council was set to consider raising registration fees to $15, but the measure was dropped.