Performance Bicycle is a national chain with outlets in the DC area in Montgomery County, MD. They tell me they will not sell complete bikes or frames to people unwilling to present identification. l complete bikes or frames to people unwilling to present identification. Their advice was to buy used when I asked them where they refer potential customers without drivers licenses or ID.
There is no legal requirement anywhere on Turtle Island to posess or carry a driver’s license to buy, sell, or ride a bicycle! It is not a car, requiring ID to use, nor a gun requiring ID to buy from a dealer subjected to licensing.
When I contacted City Bikes, by comparison, they said ID was only required for test rides, where it would be needed to find the rider if the bike was stolen. A cash customer not asking for a test ride could buy the bike like it was a bottle of chain lube-cash and carry.
The refusal of Performance Bicycle to sell bare frames without ID is interesting. Nobody can test ride a bare frame, so it can’t be related to test rides. This policy is very similar to Federal gun laws, where the complete gun or a complete “receiver,” which is the frame of a modern gun, has a serial number and can only be sold to persons with ID. Their suggestion to buy used in comparable to the “gun show loophole” where you can still buy a gun and keep your privacy by buying the gun from an individual buyer who is not a dealer. Bikes are not guns, there is no excuse for treating bare bike frames like gun receivers!
Given that City Bikes is happy to sell bikes without ID, obviously there is no Federal law requiring “bicycle dealers” to background check buyers or demand identification. An online Startpage search showed no evidence of a MD state law requiring ID to buy a bicycle either.
Performance Bicycle is also aggressive in asking all patrons for name, address, telephone number, etc for their discount card program. They will sell anything other than a bike or bike frame if you refuse to provide this information and pay with cash. If they require it for credit card purchases they will be in violation of the terms of service Mastercard and Visa impose on merchants. I wonder if their ID requirement is about increasing the value of this database by linking purchases to verifiable names and addresses, or something else? The chain is based out west where anti-Latino racism runs high, and undocumented migrants are particularily likely not to have ID.