1999 last year city will contribute to Cycling BC licensing program - Bike Couriers Will Have To Pay Their Own Way

by Gudrun Will
Vancouver Courier
Wed. Nov. 11 /98

Aspiring Bike Couriers may want to get licensed before fees rise next year. The city has decided to phase out funding of Cycling BC's bike courier licensing program, which means the program must become self-sufficient by 2000.

It was developed in 1989 as a response to increasing numbers of bike couriers in the downtown core, said Cycling BC executive director John Wakefield. "There were a lot of competence and safety concerns," he said. "Couriers were riding on sidewalks and cutting through pedestrians."

City license inspector Paur Teichroeb said the city got involved because no standards were in place for those purchasing city bike courier licenses.

The accreditation consists of a written test and a road test to ensure bike couriers know how to ride according to the motor vehicle code. It is taught by instructors of the Can-Bike program, a nationwide course that teaches adults to ride.

While Wakefield and Teicheroeb noted that some problems persist with the riding style of couriers, they said it's a police enforcement issue. A surprising number of couriers still don't wear helmets, Wakefield noted. He said Cycling BC is committed to the program and agrees with the aim of financial self-sufficiency.

The City's annual $6000 grant will fall to $3000 in 1999 and be eliminated in 2000. The price for the written and road tests, now $30, will rise by $7.50 in 1999 and again by that amount in 2000. The current cost of a city courier license is $13.

City bike courier companies may only hire employees who have passed the bike courier licensing program. Since 1994, an annual average of 441 people have been accredited.

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