Why disrespect festers between city bicyclists & drivers

Everyone wants safe streets—but too many people refuse to see things from the other vehicle's perspective.

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 41 | Posted Aug. 28, 2013

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Thousands turned out last week for Philly’s annual Naked Bike Ride.

Photo by J.R. Blackwell

 

Philadelphia is a pretty decent place to bike—not the best city, but not the worst—and most people are starting to understand that. Of the 10 largest cities in the country, we have the highest rate of bicycle commuting. One-point-eight percent of Philadelphians bike to work three days a week or more, according to an ongoing American Community Survey phone count for 2011.

That’s down from 2.16 percent in 2009, but it’s still higher than every other big city. The next in line is Chicago, at 1.15 percent. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia estimates that 36,000 people rode to work at least once a month in 2008—and that there are 75,000 bike trips made each day. John Boyle, the Bicycle Coalition’s research director, says he expects to see the numbers jump when the 2012 ACS figures are released later this month.

Recognizing that boom in bicyclists, the city has designated more bike lanes; Philly now claims more than 200 miles worth. Those lanes are designated into three categories: the familiar standard lanes, which are 5 to 6 feet wide; the newer buffered lanes, which are 6 to 9 feet wide; and protected lanes, which are off the street, and only exist for a short distance along the Delaware River.

Dedicated bike lanes tend to slow down traffic and therefore “calm” the streets, advocates claim, acting as a safety mechanism that reduces the number of accidents. The city wanted to see if that was true—and thus in 2009 tested out a Center City pilot program on Pine Street (where traffic goes east) and Spruce Street (which goes west), eliminating entire lanes of traffic to be replaced with a buffered bicycle lane. The next year, those lanes were made permanent. Then the city revamped the traffic light systems on those streets so that all vehicles going 20 miles per hour will keep hitting green lights. This means bicyclists on Pine and Spruce, depending on their speed, will probably hit two red lights at most while crossing Center City. There are now 11 such miles of buffered bike lanes in Philadelphia.

In the first year after the Spruce and Pine lanes were unveiled, the Bicycle Coalition measured a 44 percent drop in traffic accidents. That’s an astonishingly great statistic.

According to Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What it Says About Us, new bike lanes in cities often make things worse, briefly, before making them better: “When a new form of transportation arises, the number of crashes and injuries and death goes up [temporarily] . . . and then begins to go down,” he told WHYY’s Radio Times in July. So to have Philly start reaping the safety benefits right off the bat was an anomalously happy surprise.

One reason seems to be that the city actually did this right: The wider the bike lane and the better timed the traffic lights are, the easier it is for cyclists to follow the law—not just to avoid cars on the street, but to refrain from endangering pedestrians on the sidewalk. Bicycle Coalition numbers, endorsed by the Nutter administration, show that where there is no bike lane during rush hour, about 20 percent of cyclists will ride on the sidewalk. With a standard bike lane, five to 10 percent will ride on the sidewalk. And with a buffered lane, that number drops to a mere 2.4 percent.

That’s part of the reason why the Coalition endorsed the Complete Streets Bill last spring. The legislation, introduced by City Council members Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney, amended the local traffic code to make sure both bikers and drivers were a little more aware of their surroundings.

The law raised fines on those not following basic bicycling rules already on the books and added a couple more. It also raised the stakes for motorists to check their side-view mirror before opening the door and turning off their engine in a designated bike lane, adding penalties and costs for the driver—hopefully adding to the already-encouraging stats we’ve seen come out of Philadelphia, like the fact that sidewalk riding dropped by 70 percent between 2006 and 2011.

So why the sour pusses the city over? Well, for those who don’t ride, there’s some resentment that tax dollars are going toward making Philadelphia a better place to travel for, currently, about two percent of its population. But that’s just part of it. A bigger part of the conflict grows out of attitude and ignorance—on the part of those who bike as well as those who don’t.

 

On my way to work one typical summer morning, I go through three red lights: one at the corner of Frankford and Norris, one at Frankford and Berks, and one at 11th and Spruce. There are no cars coming, no people in the crosswalk. This is pretty much a daily occurrence. Tomorrow I could run a red at 6th and Race or 16th and Cherry. I don’t count the stop signs I went through today; there were a lot.

Let me explain why.

If you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, or in the city, understand this: When you come to a complete stop on a bicycle, it takes at least a few seconds, if not more, to get back up to speed. But the people driving their cars behind you don’t want to wait those few seconds—and that time offers plenty of opportunity for them to get mad.

Last year, a Jeep driver screamed and honked at me before swerving right into me on 16th Street between Arch and Race as I tried to get back up to cruising speed. During a more recent ride home up Front Street, where I stayed correctly to the right side of the road since there’s no bike lane, I was tailgated, honked at, then called a “bitch” by a couple who yelled at me to “get on the sidewalk,” before they revved their Honda Civic’s engine while accelerating past me under the El.

Riding on the sidewalk, of course, would be illegal. What drivers like this are asking isn’t for bicyclists to follow the law but simply to quit making cars drive slower.

I couldn’t keep up with the Civic’s speed, of course, even as my adrenaline pumped and, despite my better instincts, I screamed back at them. The rest of the ride home, I blew through quiet intersections as usual rather than risk prompting more road rage by stopping and thereby slowing traffic down. And afterwards, I knew one thing: The people in that car and I, we’re both part of the problem.

According to Right of Way, a New York-based nonprofit organization, 80 percent of bicycle accidents are the fault of the driver. Each year, the Bicycle Coalition holds a “Ride of Silence” in Philadelphia (one of 275 around the world) to acknowledge the cyclists who’ve been killed on the road. Six cyclists were killed between May 2011 and May 2012 in the Delaware Valley. Five have been killed between May 2012 and May 2013—all of them within Philly’s city limits.

Nationally, the problem persists: In 2009, 630 cyclists were killed in the U.S., mostly in urban areas, and mostly at non-intersection spots. (That said, about 80 percent of all bike accidents, including the non-fatal ones, do take place at intersections). Of the accidents recorded in which a death occurred, about 33 percent involved at least one intoxicated participant.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 41 of 41
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1. Ray10 said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 09:25AM

“My opinion of bicyclists sinks every time I encounter one riding past me while walking on the sidewalk, as they wizz around me running a redlight while I am in the crosswalk on a green light (that includes Pine, Spruce and the other streets with dedicated bike lanes), having to look the other way while crossing a one-way street because far too many go the wrong way, and watching bicyclists completely ignore all stop signs.
This morning while reading this print article, I watched a bicyclist riding south on 19th St, 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 & 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 before bicyclists stop acting like dicks and get the respect they crave”

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2. On August 14th said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 10:57AM

“I got hit by a car at 15th and Pine at 5:15pm while cycling through the intersection with the green light. A blue Toyota Celica made a abrupt right turn without a signal, struck me and fled the scene. The police have been non cooperative with their investigation even though I have multiple witnesses and a license plate number. Fuck cars.”

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3. Aaron B said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:02AM

“Good point, Ray10.
All cyclists should be held accountable for the poor actions of a few.
On the contrary, misbehaving motorists' actions should only be regarded on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Seriously though, there is a fundamental tension between cyclist safety, and the laws that treat cyclists like motor vehicles. They're simply irreconcilable.

As a cyclist, if I feel my safety is threatened in any way, I'm going to break the law if it means I'll feel safer.

Ride in the door lane?
No thank you.

Sit invisibly behind garbage truck, or in the turning radius of a tractor trailer?
No sir I will not do it.

Wait 60 seconds for the green light in order to jostle with engine-revving, aggressive drivers?
I'm just gonna go through it.

Cyclists deserve their own legal code. They are not pedestrians, and they are not motorists. Until the law makes sense for us, expect us to shrug it off.”

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4. Lance Armstrongs Hipster Step Brother said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:18AM

“Iam the one who rides on sidewalks..run stop signs..run red lights and cuts off pedestrians..I speak for all the ignorant philthadelphian hipster slime bicyclists.

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5. Emily said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:50AM

“I think Aaron summed up the issue pretty well. 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 - the list goes on. . 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.”

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6. Take Off the Training Wheels said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:52AM

“Sidewalk riding is for children (to the age of 12).
Sidewalk riders are either ignorant, lazy, scared, or hate to ride their bikes (or some combination).
When there is a bike lane in the street, sidewalk riders can't claim ignorance. And yet, there are sidewalk riders on Walnut and Market around UPenn and Drexel. Must be students who feel entitled to ride wherever.
I've heard "It's faster to ride on the sidewalk." Possibly true, but who wants their bike ride to end faster? People who hate to ride. Go the extra block to ride with traffic.
Take off the training wheels and ride in the street, chickens.”

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7. Devon H said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:52AM

“A fantastic and well-written balanced article. Everyone needs to play a part to make all transportation in the city safer.

The number one 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 part of the solution to a bigger problem: pollution, obesity, and community. Biking can be a big part of that solution.”

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8. Dubby said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:59AM

“Wait a minute, the people who are "bad" pedestrians are probably also "bad" drivers and if they rode, "bad" cyclists. How can I be held to account for the bad actions of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists when I am but one person who drives, walks and rides.

It's the individuals who are basically self-centered and spoiled human beings, not every driver, not every pedestrian and not every cyclist. It's the bad people, stupid.”

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9. 46er said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 12:09PM

“Dubby is completely right. It's the attitude, not the vehicle. It's the same sort of jerk who jaywalks, rides the wrong way on streets on a bike, and blasts through stop signs in a car. It's the "get out of my way and don't slow me down" mentality. We all need to not be this person.

The real thing to realize with cars vs bikes is no matter how 'wrong' the cyclist is, she is always the loser in an accident. If I don't obey traffic laws I'm the one that is going to get hurt. If a car disobeys traffic laws I'm still going to get hurt. Drivers may get a scratched fender, but us cyclists are naked out there. Be careful, everyone.”

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10. Adams said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 12:40PM

“I almost hit a cyclist today. He went across a separated merge lane to a traffic island on a busy intersection without even a glance toward oncoming traffic. Had to hit the brakes hard enough to activate ABS. Then he yelled at me.

Don't know whether he felt entitled, was not paying attention, or his mother didn't teach him to look both ways. I don't really have a problem with cyclists playing by their own rules, and it's fun and interesting to watch couriers splitting lanes, crossing intersections diagonally, and whizzing by slow moving traffic. But it's hard to understand someone who doesn't consider that if you end up in a wheelchair, that's two lives that have been wrecked.

Took a while for the adrenaline to dissipate. Frightening.”

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11. Anonymous said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 01:22PM

“As a 30-year CC resident & pedestrian (fit, alert, streetwise middle-aged male, never owned a car), I can honestly say I am much more fearful of cyclists (99% of whom have NO regard for traffic laws and NO basic consideration for others) than I am of drivers, around whom an entire system of enforcement & deterrence is constructed, which, though flawed, imposes restraints the cycling "community" seems unwilling to accept.


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12. Anonymous said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 01:38PM

“I recently traveled to Montreal, clearly a city more well prepared for bicyclists. Next year, when bike rentals come to Philly, bicylcing 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. Or how many times do you see bikers riding in the road on Kelly Drive or Main Street in Manayunk while there is an entire road built just for them 10 feet away? ( I drive these roads daily and see this almost daily).
Then again, is it possible that people that live in Philadelphia are just more aggresive than people in, say, Montreal? Let's face it, Philly: most of us are assholes.”

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13. Merf said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 01:47PM

“Cute article, definitely pro biker. 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 thru 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. Not to mention,I close streets to traffic for safety reasons, why do bikers believe these things don't apply to them. Rolling thru stop signs and red lights should earn any bike rider some free road rash or broken bones. Safety means nothing to these folk, yours or theirs. Guess they don't see it that way. I'm gonna scream the next time some weirdo on a bike during rush hour traffic jumps in front of my car, then get upset because I'm blowing my horn. When I learned to drive, I was taught to keep with the flow of traffic. These fools consistently, slow down the flow of traffic. Drive in bike lanes and follow rules or get run over. Its only right.”

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14. Andrew said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 01:53PM

“Philly's actually an awesome bike town with tons of courteous people getting where they need to go with patient accommodation of the crazy circumstances our impoverished municipal government allows to take place.
We also happen to have a tiny proportion of some of the angriest people in the universe, so it's natural to think everyone is in some sort of group war. But law-following has nothing to do with this sense of "war": as Aaron points out above, of course bicycle riders aren't following laws that were written for cars in suburbs, for the same reason that walkers don't follow those laws. It's just those crazy few angry people that light up war rhetoric.
Minor point: blocking the bike lane with a car is not illegal--Philly law says cars are allowed to park just about anywhere, including bike lanes, no parking areas, no standing areas, etc., for up to 20 minutes. Plus the bike lanes are outside of PPA-land. Hence the parking-lot nature of the Center City bike lanes.”

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15. rekall said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 01:57PM

“TLDR. the important points that this article should have made up front... Every cyclist should read the Bicycle Manual offered by their local department of transportation -- http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdbikeped.nsf/infoAcknowledgements -- and... Every motorist should actually read or re-read the chapters about their own responsibility for cyclists' safety... page 54 -- http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/pa_driversmanual/chapter_3.pdf -- and page 90 -- http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/pa_driversmanual/chapter_5.pdf”

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16. JeffersonLeeEng said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 02:09PM

“I live in suburbia along the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County and more often than not, I treat bicycling as a leisure/recreational activity for the weekend warrior. I appreciate that there are dedicated bike trails that have been set up and maintained by the local parks authority. What I actually would like, though, is better public transit access in my neck of the woods...”

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17. kiwi said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 02:39PM

“You know what might solve this whole mess? If everyone followed the rules and laws put forth - I am looking at you cars, you buses, you cyclists, you pedestrians.

It's really no more difficult than that. Everyone here saying they are scofflaws when it benefits them, please stop being a selfish asshat.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 02:57PM

“the guy on the cover is cute.
when he isn't riding his bicycle nearly naked, he is a great artist. someone should hire him full time. with benefits.”

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19. Ed said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 03:13PM

“I have been almost hit by way more cyclist then cars and they are always at fault. Wrong way, through stop signs, on the sidewalk, etc. You should have to get a license to bicylce in the city and you should have to have insurance. Anyone riding on the sidewalk should be stopped by the police and their bike impounded until they pay a substantial fine north of $100. Same goes for riding the wrong way down a street. It should be an automatic pull over and ticket for reckless driving.”

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20. Jill said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 04:17PM

“I am always very careful of bikers, as I realize I'm in a much heavier car. But I am shocked when I see bicyclists routinely running red lights. I also got cursed out once for going around a bicyclist (I went over into the opposite lane to pass the bike, so I could make sure the bike had plenty of room and was safe). I prefer to SAFELY go around bicycles when I can, because I don't want to be in a situation where I am bumping one, or too close. So I was kind of shocked that got me branded as an Ahole.”

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21. countypa said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 04:29PM

“By the law nudity in the public is illegal, it seems that people can break the law at anytime and often get away with it. if these people are not prosecuted than your children should all go nude to school and their teachers should be nude. Nude Shopping and Nudity at parks and playgrounds should all be legal and everyone can do it at any time. What is good for one person or set of people is good for all. (dirtandmoredirt com)”

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22. Fuji 10 Speed said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 07:09PM

“Here's a small easy solution. Put bike lanes near the sidewalk and have cars park three feet over. Motorist won't even see the cyclists and cyclists will feel safer. Teach pedestrians to watch for cyclists. Boom a happy, more productive city.”

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23. Anonymous said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 07:21PM

“The childish dig on NJ ruins the article.”

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24. Nick said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 08:06PM

“Fuji 10 Speed - the evidence from other cities that have done what you suggest is that collisions at intersections go up when cycle and motor vehicle lanes are separated the way you suggest.

I was harassed and nearly assaulted last week by a man in an SUV who yelled at me on 2nd St. that since I was not an automobile, I had no right to use the road. How do these people get driver's licenses?

I also witness, daily, the 'boulevard of douche-baggery' that is 2nd St south through Northern Liberties and 3rd St north: clueless morons on fixed gears with their ipods in their ears run every light and stop sign; drag-strip-wanna-be-truck-nutz-for-brains pickups racing down the street like it's the boulevard at 3am before the traffic cameras.

If the police department wants to earn some revenue, target both groups of idiots for ticketing, fines, and stand them in front of a judge who will instruct them on how they have to behave on city streets.”

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25. Anonymous said... on Aug 28, 2013 at 08:36PM

“you're all a bunch of idiots. Cyclists rule and everyone shall bow down and obey what we say. Fuck YOU.”

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26. Puhlease, cry me a river... said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 06:34AM

“I drive in Philly occasionally, but walk most of the time. Cyclists are worse than the car drivers are. Most of each do the right thing but there are the bad apples, but proportion of bad cyclists is higher.

Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in central business districts per state law, but I've almost been hit there by cyclists plenty of times. Riding the wrong way on a one way street is illegal, but I have almost been hit by cyclists doing that. Riding through a red light is illegal, but I have almost been hit by cyclists doing that. I've never had any of those things happen here with a car driver.

To all the courteous cycle riders, I say thank you and when I am driving I will continue to give you four feet of space, like I did before the rlaw passed.

For the others - it would be easy to closeline you blast past within inches of me in the crosswalk. Or shove my walking stick into your spokes. So a helmet and pads might be a good idea. In any case, you better check yourself.”

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27. Oskar said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 08:50AM

“Cyclists need their own laws. Yeild at stop lights and stop signs, etc.

That said, can we please talk about joggers? And specifically joggers who run in bike lanes?!?!?!? I feel this is an issue that can unite drivers and cyclists.

There is absolutely nothing worse than the bearded idiot that runs west on Pine every morning around 9am. He runs right down the middle of the bike lane causing bikes to have to swerve into traffic to avoid him. Every day he does this!

Actually, there is something worse that this bearded idiot. Joggers who run tandem in any bike lane. Really? Who the f--- are you?!?!? You two are just so g-damn cute that you get to hop along taking up the whole damn bike lane.

Jackass joggers, get on the sidewalk!”

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28. So, here's why... said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 09:39AM

“Here's an actual answer to the "why disrespect festers" question.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/09/cyclists_are_annoying_why_you_think_they_re_a_menace_on_two_wheels_.html

-Jim Saksa”

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29. Anonymous said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 12:33PM

“I haven't had much experience with bicyclists within city limits. Bicyclists riding on winding roads with little-to-no shoulder and riding 2 and 3 abreast? Way too much experience. Way too much SCARY experience (both with coming upon them in my lane, and having cars forced out of THEIR lane and into mine as they try to avoid them),

I bike -- sticking mostly to trails, granted -- but I have started to react negatively on sighting bicyclists. At this point, my default visceral response is "asshole biker, beware."”

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30. murcuryvapor said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 01:04PM

“I love looking down a lane before crossing a street and making out the silhouette of a cyclist-at night. Lightless cyclists should be ticketed and/or fined. I've made use of some decent inexpensive lights-attached to my helmet-and some rechargeable batteries. I've even had a taxi driver stop me and praise the fact that I could be seen. I wear them day and night.

Now, can we get the assholes to stop angle-parking in the lane on Washington between Broad and 22nd? Maybe I'll ask the cop that invariably parks in front of the 7-11 in the bike lane at 22nd and Lombard.”

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31. Cindy Brady said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 01:51PM

“The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia issued the following response to this article today:

"Randy LoBasso’s thoughtful Philly Weekly cover story, “Why disrespect festers between city bicyclists & drivers,” does a good job of considering the many conflicting pressures brought to bear on Philly streets. He gives space to a wide spectrum of viewpoints, some of which we agree with. We want to respond to some notable issues raised in the article.

One thing we appreciate about the column is that it reflects the many reasons why some people break traffic laws while bicycling. Education, enforcement, and safety all play into it. Think Philadelphians need to behave better in our streets? Philadelphia needs to tackle all three.

1. Education: emphasize bicycling laws in driver's ed classes. Give pamphlets explaining bike laws to everyone renewing their driver's license or buying a bicycle.

2. Enforcement: laws are only guidelines if they aren't enforced. We support equitable, uniform,”

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32. Cindy Brady said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 01:53PM

“and persistent enforcement from the police and the PPA on cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

3. Safety: Randy underplayed (for our taste) the importance of separated infrastructure and Complete Streets policies. Let's build a safer city.

Other big things

• We emphasize extreme behavior and forget good behavior. Drunk bicycling, or biking while on your cell phone? Memorable and stupid. Check the comment section on Randy’s column: everyone has a ready anecdote. Remember those 500 cars and bicycles you saw coexisting calmly last week? No? Exactly. 

• Not all bicyclists are young white men. Randy is right: bicycling is becoming less of a club and more of a mainstream form of transportation. As such, our mental picture of what a bicyclist looks like, and why he or she is bicycling, must change. We can start with Philly Weekly cover images.

Small things

• Stat correction: There is no published data on bicycle deaths in 2013, but to our knowledge there have not been five people killed on bicycle deaths in 2013, but to our knowledge there have not been five people killed on bicycles in Philly in 2013. There were five bicyclists killed between May 2012 and May 2013 in the Delaware Valley.  

• Stat correction: The Pine and Spruce bike lanes cut down CAR crashes by 44%, not bike crashes. It's even better news than Randy thought. Traffic calming FTW!

• More effort than reported: Randy mentions the Give Respect, Get Respect campaign, but not this year's PSA campaign or the police Center City traffic crackdown. It's still not enough, but it's better than the article makes it seem.

• Reporters: stop calling them accidents! There are very few bike accidents. There are mostly just bike crashes. An accident is when a tree limb falls on a car. A crash is what happens when someone’s at fault. If "80 percent of bicycle accidents are the fault of the driver," are they accidents? No. You don't want, through your word choice, to be telling the family of a person killed by a hit and run driver that his or her death was "an accident."

• Stu Bykofsky: Where to start? We'll start and end here: Stu questions our data, and also boasts that he cites our data. Pick one.

• Bike registration. Randy wrote about the 2009 bill and that "it may have been a good start." Bike registration doesn't work, it's unaffordable and unenforceable, it's a waste of all the things. The bike registration legislation was not a good start. It died an appropriate and justified death.

Sorry, one more Stu, because we can't help it: “I never pay attention to plans that go beyond my lifetime. F*ck that. I won’t be here…” This is the “me first, last, and only” attitude that causes these problems in our streets. Changing a city doesn't happen overnight. If the only solutions we support are stopgap, we won't get very far."

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33. Ray10 said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 05:55PM

“As a pedestrian, and with all due to respect to the Bike Coalition: I really don't care that bicyclists who choose to run redlights and stop signs, then wizz around me crossing the street, do so because they think the Idaho Rolling Stop is legal here or at least should be for them, or whether they have been bitten by the "my feet shall never touch the ground" bug. I also don't care to know if bicyclists who jump on the sidewalk do so because traffic is blocked ahead or they fear riding in the street or whether they are just lazy and don't care that bikes are to be walked on the sidewalk as per the law and politely worded BCOGP literature on the issue. What I do know is that pedestrians are given third-tier status despite Center City being known as a walking town, that police enforcement is a joke, that Stu Bykofsky is spot on in his articles on jackass bicycling behaviors, especially as it impacts pedestrians, and the Bike Coalition should be less polite in calling out said jackasses!”

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34. DBar said... on Aug 29, 2013 at 10:28PM

“Why do we keep going back to that hack, Stu? Have you read his articles and editorials that aren't about bicycling? I think you could find better journalism in the colleges in the area. Let's not keep going to that blow-hard for his opinion as its not expert nor important. Let him keep writing in 'newspapers' no one who matters reads them anyway.”

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35. Corvid said... on Aug 30, 2013 at 11:37AM

“"I almost hit a person when I was driving on Walnut this morning, he cycled straight through the junction without stopping..."

"I almost hit a person when I was cycling on Walnut this morning, he drove straight through the junction without stopping..."

See what I did there?
We are all mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. Would you scream and honk if you knew the person was hurrying to the birth of their child? their first day in a new job? A first date? The bedside of a terminally ill partner?

If we dismiss a complete stranger as an asshole just for one momentary encounter, we can then justify any
misfortune that befalls them.
If we dismiss a whole bunch of people just for one common trait, we take a step down the road that ends with slavery, a holocaust, a war.
We all don't want to be where we are and want to be where we're going. We're all in the same boat. Let's try to help each other, look out for each other.
When I cycle , I always smile and wave when I catch an eye. People smile and wave back! When I drive I give people room, no matter what transport they are using.
Let's not get hung up on cyclists, drivers, truckers, bikers.
They're all folks, just like you.”

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36. Dan El said... on Aug 31, 2013 at 12:19PM

“I'm an urban cyclist - a member of the bicycle coalition and have ridden over many streets in Philadelphia for nearly twelve years and I can say that things have in general gotten better. That the discussion is going on at all about bicycle/motorist relations is much better than when I first moved here. The designated lanes and parking places make biking the city a much better place for me and others, despite the drawbacks. . .

I've been doored twice and hit once where the car sped off. And naturally Forced to suffer the indignities that most of us do, yelled at and insulted while riding. Hey, it's Philly - people have attitude here.

What buffoons like bykovsky don't take into account is that Every time I ride I reserve a parking place for him somewhere, Every time I ride I help decongest the highway system surrounding Philadelphia. That alone should make him more grateful for our continued presence. The state law is: Share The Road. Bykovsky ignores this”

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37. "The Fugly Hipster" said... on Sep 3, 2013 at 07:54AM

“The State Should issue Bicycle Riding Licenses and when the hipsters ride like crazed jerkoffs on sidewalks and run stop signs and red lights give them tickets and suspend their riding privleges
just like motor vehicles.A license should cost 500.00 a year for hipsters and 25.00 a year for "Born" Philadelphians and if you dont like it move back to Seattle FU all.”

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38. BookLaw said... on Sep 4, 2013 at 03:56PM

“For bicycle law, go to the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 75 (Vehicles), Chapter 35 (Special Vehicles and Pedestrians), Subchapter A (Operation of Pedalcycles), basically sections 3501 through 3513. For the most part it is bicycles equals cars for operating on the roads.

Say I am driving my car through an intersection and decide to ignore the stop sign or red light and hit you in your car or you hit my car while you either stop at the stop sign and proceeded or you had the green light; whose fault is this accident? Or you're driving at night in your fully-lit car and you hit me in my car that I'm driving with no lights on; whose fault is that accident?”

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39. EC said... on Sep 6, 2013 at 06:45AM

“I see bikers at night wearing dark clothing and no lights. It's an accident waiting to happen.”

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40. charlotte nc cyclist said... on Sep 15, 2013 at 04:48PM

“In our large city, I believe over 95% of the car drivers are respectful of cyclists and go around us safely, while maybe 95% of the cyclists are ignorant of safe street riding and disrespectful of cars' traffic rights
and glad to risk injury from an suv driver chatting on the cellphone passing in the intersection. We cyclists don't earn respect.”

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41. DeeMD said... on Mar 29, 2014 at 03:37PM

“I hate the onset of summer because of bike riders as well or even worse those i see occasionally on skate boards. I'd not exaggerating to say that 75% of them do not follow any rules as to red lights, they weave in and out of traffic, they jut out when from the blind side of your view when your trying to make a turn, and i've even had a couple occasions while riding a taxi where as a passenger i have to open the door to get out..at my destination now i dont' have side mirrors or its hard to turn your head back..when i've almost hit some bike rider flashing my at fast speed missing him by inches. They even go the wrong way on city streets. To have the mayor condone and spend city money on some simplistic naked bike race and to not fully address that bike riders to not follow road rules, living here in south phily..it might play better in a place less congested like Manyunk or North east..but in south and center city philly..it's horrendous. How can you get respect when you have none”

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