Friday, October 30, 2009

Courtesy, Respect, Compliance--It's Up to All of Us

In light of the recent hit and run between a bicyclist and Andre Steed that resulted in his death, the Bicycle Coalition has posted the following position statement about enforcement on its website.

".......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. To that end, the Bicycle Coalition has an outreach and education program called Bicycle Ambassadors, which is designed to encourage adult bicyclists to ride more often and ride more safely, by teaching bike safety, sharing the road, bike lane and bike path etiquette and how to bike to work and school.......As the rules of the road adapt to new users, and the roadways themselves are reconfigured to meet the needs of more vulnerable road users, everyone needs to adapt to the rules of the road – after all, a bicycle is a legal vehicle in all 50 states and all vehicles have to abide by the same rules......The position of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia on enforcement is that we welcome more consistent and visible enforcement of traffic laws. We want enforcement to be applied equitably to all users: motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. All three are a part of the current problem on the streets and each need to be part of the solution."

The Bicycle Coalition also submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Inquirer stating:

"As reported this week, a bicyclist and pedestrian were recently involved in a fatal collision. The bicyclist made the immoral and illegal decision to flee the scene. On behalf of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, I am writing to express bicyclists’ dismay about this crash and extend our sympathies to the victim’s family, friends and colleagues.

A bicycle is a legal vehicle in all 50 states and, like all vehicles, must follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately, bicyclists, car drivers and pedestrians blithely ignore traffic laws in Philadelphia. We need a concerted campaign in Philadelphia for consistent and visible enforcement of traffic laws -- enforced equitably to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians – to calm our city’s streets and make them safe for everyone."

Bicycle Ambassadors are also hosting "service stations" once a week on Spruce and Pine to inform bicyclists about the pilot project and smart safety tips. Three have been held already and two more will be held in the following weeks. Pending good weather, the next service station will be on Wednesday, November 4th from 7:30-9:00am at a to-be-decided upon intersection.

Inga Saffron wrote a terrific column in today's Inquirer summarizing all of these issues. Kudos to her for putting what many of us have been thinking so eloquently.


Nick said...

I posted this on the 10/26 blog regarding Andre Steed's death. I stand by it even though it may be perceived as using his death as an excuse to gripe, not about bikes, but their operators. Last night I had to avoid 3 separate bicyclists on sidewalks in a span of 6 blocks. These weren't anarchist bike messenger types, but riders with helmets and very nice bicycles, they should know better:

Nick said...

Too many close calls between bicyclists and pedestrians happen all over Center City. It is the rare biker who actually stops at an intersection, be it stop sign or red light controlled. It is more than a few bikers who ride on sidewalks in Center City. Leaving the Kimmel Center Thursday Night on Spruce Street was irritating when a concert going bicyclist unlocked her bike and rather than walk her bike to the bike lane and actually use it she just rode down the sidewalk weaving around people in what was a full sidewalk! The Bicycle Coalition should favor clarity over civility and go beyond saying these behaviors are more than not recommended but are just plain unacceptable and illegal.

Anonymous said...

Having bike commuted for twenty years I find the statement from the BCGP very interesting. Cycling has reach a sufficient critical mass that the need to make sure cyclists follow traffic rules has become an issue.

Personally I feel this is long overdue and its tragic that the death of a pedestrian is what it took.

Concerned said...

People have to learn to get along !

Neither the bicyclists or motor vehicles own the right of way and bicyclists need to respect pedestrians.

A little responsible behavior on everyone's part along with respect for other points of view would go a long way.

Unknown said...

The BCGP has been saying for years that bicyclists need to follow all laws. This isn't new.

Anonymous said...

As for the service station intersection, I nominate 23rd and Chestnut! A very busy bicycle intersection, with poor infrastructure. Please?

Anonymous said...

Last summer I was hit by a bicyclist who was going to wrong way down a one way street as I crossed and didn't look in that direction since traffic shouldn't have been coming from it in the first place.

Last night, I saw gang of about 200 bicyclists (this might have been a "critical mass" ride or something) going through the streets of Center City. The light at the intersection turned red but they certainly didn't care and more than 50 bicyclists went through the red light. Pedestrians couldn't cross, cars couldn't move, and when one man tried to cross (it seemed like he was in a hurry) a bicyclist clipped him and yelled "fuck you" at the man.

I get the bicycle thing. Philadelphia is a big city. It takes a while to walk places, cabs are expensive, SEPTA buses suck, driving is impossible, there are only two subways - both going to bad areas of the city. Maybe you are even saving the planet from global warming or the coming ice age. This all makes a bike a good alternative. But, please, just follow the freaking traffic laws.

If you see a stop sign - STOP. If you see a red light - STOP. If you see a one way sign on a street - DON'T GO DOWN IT THE WRONG WAY. Also, remember sidewalks are for people, not bikes. You want to "share the road" so go ahead and do it by staying on the road. This is all pretty easy stuff - it's not rocket science. Just pretend your bike is a car and you will do just fine.