In response to Randy LoBasso’s feature story about biking in the city:
My opinion of bicyclists sinks every time I encounter one riding past me while walking on the sidewalk.
This morning while reading this print article, I watched a bicyclist riding south on 19th Street jump on the sidewalk to go east on the Parkway rather than use the bike lane around Logan Square. At the same intersection of 19th and the Parkway, I watched a bicyclist run the redlight and almost get clobbered by a car that had the green light. This stuff happens everywhere all over Center City, and Stu Bykofsky is vilified for writing about this! Yeah, there’s a lot of improvement [needed] before bicyclists stop acting like dicks and get the respect they crave.
I am as respectful and as responsible a cyclist as I can be, but I will also ride as defensively as I need to in order to avoid getting injured. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle in Philly for even one day has seen what we have to deal with on a regular basis: car doors opening quickly into oncoming traffic, pedestrians walking against the signal without paying attention, taxis driving too close or too aggressively, cars turning across bike lanes without signalling or glancing over. And somehow, through all of it, cyclists are far more likely to end up with a bad rep, which is dangerous in accident situations where police and insurance companies refuse to take our sides of the story seriously. In July, I was seriously injured by a car that ran a red light. Despite my own account and those of several witnesses, everyone seems to be willing to take the side of the motorist. Something needs to change.
A fantastic and well-written, balanced article. Everyone needs to play a part to make all transportation in the city safer.
The No. 1 motorist that causes the problems? Taxi drivers. They are reckless and will get where they need to go as quickly as they can, even if it means less safety for their passengers, pedestrians on the road, other motorists and cyclists.
We all need to be part of the solution to a bigger problem: pollution, obesity and community. Biking can be a big part of that solution.
As a driver and city worker, bikers have taught me to hate them. I have never closed a street to traffic in South Philly and not have a plethora of bikers ride through the cones or barricades. I can’t dodge these fools and keep them from riding into open manholes and do my work at the same time.
I recently traveled to Montreal, clearly a city more well prepared for bicyclists. Next year, when bike rentals come to Philly, bicycling is going to increase dramatically.
I drive a car mostly, ride sometimes. I rarely have problems with cars when I ride. Believe it or not, I see drivers much more patient than cyclists. Cyclists in Philly tend to have an air of entitlement and ownership. Like when you see a pack of them lined up side-by-side, taking over the driving lane. How many times do you see bikers riding in the road on Kelly Drive or Main Street in Manayunk when there is an entire road built just for them 10 feet away?
Then again, is it possible that people that live in Philadelphia are just more aggressive than people in, say, Montreal? Let’s face it, Philly: Most of us are assholes.
Letters to the Editor