New in the collection: bicycle licenses

Metal shaped like badges with the names of Rocky Mount and Raleigh and numbers.

I’ve been stymied in unearthing the history behind these two bicycle licenses.

What mention of bike licenses I did find was in Charlotte: In 1954 the city enacted an ordinance requiring a 25-cent metal registration tag. “The move is designed to cope with widespread bicycle theft,” the Observer explained. By 1964 the metal tag seems to have given way to reflector tape, and after that the Observer archives yield not a single mention of the license ordinance. By the 21st century letters to the editor were calling for licensing not to thwart thieves but to crack down on cyclists seen as disrespectful of drivers.

How relevant is any of this to Raleigh and Rocky Mount? Maybe not at all — suggestions welcome!

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