Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Councilmen Kenney & DiCicco proposed bills

At this time, the three bills in question have not be posted on City Council's website. Check City Council's website on Thursday and search on bicycle (http://legislation.phila.gov/mattersearch/) to find the bills. We will post the bills when they are available.

Read below for the BCGP's statement based on our current knowledge of the bills' content. We will develop a formal position once the legislation has been introduced.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 6PM

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia statement on proposed Council legislation to increase penalties and mandate bicycle registration

Like many others in Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia recognizes that the city’s streets are chaotic. In the absence of adequate enforcement, all road users – motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – bend the law to suit their own needs, with little if any consequences. This situation has led some road users to develop bad habits that endanger themselves and others.

Philadelphia’s streets need to be made safer for everyone. The first step toward safer streets is equitable and consistent enforcement of traffic laws as they apply to all road users. Up to now, traffic enforcement has not been a priority. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia urges City Council and the Nutter Administration to implement immediately an equitable and consistent traffic education and enforcement program to enforce the laws that are currently on the books before City Council raises penalties, requires mandatory registration, and puts other restrictions in place. Safety education coupled with enforcement, applied equitably to all road users, is the first step to improve safety for all.

The Philadelphia Police Department appears to be ready to engage in enforcement in tandem with the Bicycle Coalition’s Bicycle Ambassadors education program. The Bicycle Coalition urges City Council to help develop a strategy for an equitable and consistent traffic enforcement and education campaign applicable to all road users. The Bicycle Coalition looks forward to working with city officials to help calm the streets.

With regards to laws requiring registration and licensing of bicycles, the Bicycle Coalition does not support a mandatory program. Among other issues, we are concerned about the potential for a registration program to discourage riders, impose financial disincentives, and expose the City to numerous legal issues. Peer cities and states have passed and then repealed registration and licensing programs. We recommend a thorough investigation of registration and licensing programs in other cities to determine whether such programs would help or hinder efforts to achieve peace on Philadelphia’s streets.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

last year my car was broken into and my bike was stolen on 17th street between Market and Chestnut. The police did nothing except take a phone report. Why would I expect them to take the time to enforce traffic laws?

Anonymous said...

FROM THE PHILADELPHIA BICYCLE INSURRECTION:

WE ARE A DIRECT ACTION GROUP COMPRISED OF RADICAL ACTIVIST PHILADELPHIA CYCLISTS WHO DEMAND THAT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA STOP CRIMES AND VIOLENCE AGAINST CYCLISTS BY CRIMINAL SCOFFLAW MOTORISTS.

THE RECENT THREATS MADE BY COUNCILMEN KENNEY AND DICICCO PROVE THAT YOUR NON-CONFRONTATIONAL TACTICS ARE INEFFECTIVE AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

WE WILL BE PUBLISHING A LIST OF DEMANDS CONCERNING ENFORCEMENT OF TRAFFIC LAWS AND MANDATORY, ANNUAL GRADED TRAINING FOR POLICE, CITY EMPLOYEES AND SETPA EMPLOYEES FOCUSED ON THE LAW AS IT RELATES TO THE USE OF BICYCLES ON PUBLIC ROADWAYS.

ADDITIONALLY, WE DEMAND THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION RECONSIDER YOUR METHODS AND UNDERTAKE YOUR ROLE OF "ADVOCATE" WITH MORE VIGOR AND SERIOUSNESS.

DANIEL HOOVER
ACTIVIST, PHILADELPHIA BICYCLE INSURRECTION

Anonymous said...

Well stated, balanced post. Thank you for your level headedness and eloquence on behalf of Philly cyclists.

daniel hoover: stop yelling.

Jeff said...

As the blog noted, better to enforce existing laws then start with a $20 mandatory license. Although I commute to work daily by bike, I strongly believe that any riding on the sidewalk be met with the full force of the law. This measure alone would go a long way to mitigating some of the tension that has been created recently.

Jeff

Orlin said...

A friend of mine just got ticketed by an officer for riding on the sidewalk. This is fine, but unfair is another light: there has been a rash of incidents between vehicles and cyclists/pedesrians as well lately, and I have yet to see an officer handing out traffic tickets in the city. Why should the (easy target) bicyclists be singled out when there are deadlier, 4,000lb missles on the road in the hands of drivers with no accountability?

Naman H said...

There's a Facebook Group!

"Philly Cyclists Against Mandatory License Plates & Increased Penalties"

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=220118054504&ref=mf

Kelvyn said...

Has anyone registered their bike through the Police Department's voluntary anti-theft program? I tried to do this at the 18th District several years ago, but they didn't have the forms. It might be a good idea to shore up that program before adding a new layer of bureaucracy.

gabbazoo said...

I will say this again, if people in Tokyo can ride on the sidewalk without major problems, then we should be able to do it here. It is about 10 times bigger than Philly and much denser.

http://www.tokyobybike.com/2009/02/of-bicycle-laws-in-japan-and-other.html

DSCIFELLI said...

Great idea guys! Let's criminalize cyclists while taxi drivers excessively speed around the streets talking on their cell phones with little regard for anyone else on the road. Instead of going after cyclists, how about supporting their rights? No, instead let's discourage people from riding. And what happens if you are a cyclist from outside of the city, are you going to be given a ticket for not having your bike registered here? I am pretty sure the police have enough on their hands trying to control the real criminals in Philadelphia, and that is where their focus should stay, not on criminalizing cyclists, which will so much money. What are we going to have cops chasing cyclists down? Now you are going to see really dangerous cycling as we try (and easily will) out run the cops. That is dangerous. It seems to be that these two councilmen have it out for cyclists because we use the road while they try to drive around in their big BMWs. They are abusing their power to harm people who harm no one. On the road, cars and bicycles are equal. Perhaps they should look at the European system and realize that cyclists can co-exist with motorists. If these bills pass, the system of oppression directed at cyclists will continue to push this city's, and furthermore, this country's backward philosophy towards cycling. Finally, I recommend that we as cyclists come together to fight these bills. Perhaps a petition from the BCoGP? I have so much more that I want to say about this issue but I will save myself the aggrivation and keep it cool for now. We'll see what goes down.

Mr. Matt said...

I know that the government has been all about "sharing the road" but what would it look like if there were streets in Philadelphia dedicated to bicycles only?

I would LOVE to see BCoP to get out one day and have bikers LEGALLY take to the streets and ride through the city under current bicycle laws - specifically targeting those streets that do not have bike lanes (MARKET STREET!?!?!). We can show that having bikers ride in the vehicle lanes is not sufficient for bikers nor for drivers.

cline said...

As a bike rider (commuter), I'm totally in favor of safe, legal bike riding. One of my worst near-misses was with a bike rider flying through a stop sign.

HOWEVER, I seriously question the use of our severely limited city funds to force people to get bike registrations and to then enforce them. We can't enforce car registrations or L &I.

What are the police going to do about the car driver who screamed at me at every corner "I'm going to try to kill you until you get the *f* off the street and on the sidewalk where you belong" (not kidding and yes, she tried to hit me) or the drivers who go rolling through stop signs when I'm legally crossing on the cross street? Or the Septa driver who got out of his bus to argue with me that I had no right in the street (on a bike/bus lane).

I've been threatened so many time by angry drivers.

I regret DiCiccio is cowtowing to angry car drivers.

steve b said...

There is no reason to increase fines and impose confiscation on laws that are not presently enforced.

More here: http://www.stevebozzone.com/articles/philly-bike-registration

stacyshomejournal said...

This isn't going to earn Philly any Bike Friendly City points.

If Philadelphia requires all bikes to be registered then what happens with visitors/tourists who ride their own bikes? Or is the Philadelphia City Council not expecting anyone to visit Philly? I've thought about taking my bike on the train from New York City for Bike Philly but I certainly don't want to get some kind of ticket for riding an unregistered bike!

j said...

i obey traffic laws while riding my bicycle to set a positive example for the Philadelphia police, the UPenn police, and the other uniformed bicycle "security" that display contempt for the law by riding their bikes on sidewalks and the wrong way on bike lanes and streets.

i asked one UPenn bike cop riding on the sidewalk last year, if he was allowed to ride in the bike path, and he said his work insurance would not allow it. I chuckled to myself not believing him.

when the police are afraid to abide by the law and ride in the bike lane, they earn my pity.

civility may require tolerance for scoff-law-enforcement. The courage to ride a bicycle in traffic may very well exceed that required to be a cop.

"road civility" cannot be enforced, but only exemplified.

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