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City council members screw the pooch

November 20, 2009

philly city council hereos and zeroes

Or I should say, screw city bicyclists.
Pictured above from right to left are Philadelphia city council members Blondell Reynolds Brown, Frank DeCicco, and James F. Kenney.

This week DeCicco and Kenney introduced bills to increase penalties for sidewalk riding, riding with headphones, riding bikes without a brake, and to mandate registration and bicycle license plates.

Today police in center city are stopping and ticketing bikers who disobey the laws that are already on the books. That’s the problem. We already HAVE bicycle laws, but just like every other city ordinance, they aren’t ENFORCED. (see Chestnut Street bike/bus lanes, mandatory recycling, litter laws…)
Why introduce new laws when the ones we have are ignored?

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is doing a wonderful job of firmly and convincingly objecting to the new policy yet remaining calm and collected. Here’s their take on some of the recent bicycle controversy in the city:

The recent death of a pedestrian killed by a hit and run bicyclist highlights the need for all road users to follow the rules of the road.
Have you ever been riding along in a bike or travel lane and a car comes up from behind and right hooks you (making a right turn directly in front of you into your lane of travel)? Have you ever been walking across an intersection and have a bicyclist fly by you against a red light? Have you ever been driving in a car or riding a bike when a pedestrian starts to jaywalk in front of you while chatting on their cell phone? Have you ever…well, we could go on and on…everyone has a story of almost being hit. Unfortunately and tragically, crashes happen between motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians that cause injuries and fatalities because someone wasn’t following a rule of the road.
It is the position of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia that all users of the road should obey traffic laws. When people bend the rules to their personal benefit, whether they are a motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian, it contributes to chaos on the streets and everyone is endangered.

The good news is that not all council members are so unfriendly to bicycles. Blondell Reynolds Brown coincidentally sponsored a bill to legalize pedicabs in the city. The bill was passed 17-0, so we should start to see clean cabs pedalling around the streets soon.

Below is Brown in one of the cabs tooling around city hall, on the… sidewalk?

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