Wednesday, November 18, 2009

yeah, bikes are the biggest problem cities face, gimme a break

We have runaway crime in Philadelphia, chances of getting murdered in Philly are greater than for our soldiers in Iraq. Kids are quitting school at alarming rates. Kids are shooting the cops. Kids are shooting kids. Cars park everywhere, run lights and disobey signals all the time. Folks text and talk on cell phones, many work on their business right from the front seat while driving.

But lo and behold, the great city council of Philadelphia decides it is time to regulate bikes. Yes, that is just what the city needs to do. Top priority for sure, forgot all the other stuff, these runaway bikes are a menace. " No brakes" bikes will be outlawed. Isn't that what we rode as kids for years and years and years? We wore no helmets, and had to bike in dresses and skirts in those days cuz we actually used our bikes to get us to school.

I can walk my dogs any morning of any day and see many many cars run stop lights, run stop signs, speed in a school zone and I cannot count the folks using cell phones, just too many. Yet my bike is the biggest problem the city of Philadelphia wants to work on.

One of my favorite blogs, The Wash Cycle, has a classic post on scofflaws. It is worth your time to read it.

Now the only bike reg that might need to be addressed is biking on sidewalks but I am sure there are already regs on the books for that. Maybe the cops could enforce it. But again, is this really what you want the Philly cops spending their time on? I mean, selling drugs daily from street corners just doesn't seem to generate the same anger as seeing a kid or even worse, an adult on a bike on a sidewalk.

Kids killing kids also does not generate much anger but mention a cyclist going down a one way street the wrong way, and holy hell, he should be arrested!

Gimme a break!


Kathy said...

I saw a report on 60 Minutes several weeks ago about the concept of "shared space" in public places.

I cannot for the life of me find it on a google search but it was so interesting.

You can read about shared space on Wikepedia at:

Shared space

Some European towns are now trying the concept. They remove all the traffic signs in some parts of the city and put in a traffic circles. It turns out that when you give motorists and pedestrians and walkers and bikers more responsibility in dealing with others on the road instead of less they do much better.

The 60 Minutes report showed one town, it might have been in the Netherlands, that had taken out all the traffic signs. Even school children were forced to stop and look both ways before crossing. There were no crossing guards to help them.

The round abouts had cars and tons of bikers politely giving way to each other as they all maneuvered through intersections.

It was amazing.

So instead of punishing folks in cars, on bikes and on foot, give them more responsibility for their own safety. It apparently works.

Kathy said...

oops had the wrong link for shared space:

try this if it works:

Shared Space

Libby Maxim said...

very cool, and yes, i can see that working, the more responsibility you give, the better, works with kids too!

Kathy said...

found the 60 Minutes story on shared space,

Shared Space

Stuart said...

I read about these proposals yesterday, and they are just outrageous. These regulations would serve no purpose except to reduce the number of cyclists on the road. They are a symptom of America's myopic land use policies that prioritize car driving above all other uses of space.

Shared space is a pragmatic solution to congestion and safety hazards, but I don't think we're ever going to lower the priority of car driving without an external shock to force people out of cars. Which is on the way in the form of peak oil, which of course we're not going to prepare for because of our nearly-blind auto myopia.

mike r said...

Riding the wrong way down one way streets is legal under Pennsylvania state law. You just have to ride on the left side of the street, tho the law doesn't say if it mean left as you are biking or left in the one way direction.

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