City Paper is not for tourists
Jason Haber (The Mail 2/14; “Tour de Force,” 1/17) may be correct in criticizing the mandatory nature of D.C.’s bicycle-registration program. That does not, however, mean that registering a bicycle is a waste of time. I had a stolen bicycle recovered by the Capitol Hill police some years ago, by a pair of plainclothes detectives. One of the detectives told me that they frequently tailed groups of young people they thought might be stealing bicycles (and might also be responsible for other thefts). If my bike hadn’t been registered, I would never have seen it again.
My current bicycle, however, is not registered. It was bought used from somebody who had long before lost any documents for it. I did try to register it, but I got passed between the police and fire departments and waited for over an hour to get served at one police station. After that, I just gave up.
The problem with bike registration in the District is not that it is mandatory or ineffective. It’s just that, as with so much else in the District, they don’t make it easy for you.