Let's examine the case of $300 for wearing headphones. The assumption here is that the bicyclist is distracted by wearing them. They could be listening to music, a podcast etc. The current law is quite simple and does not distinguish between noise canceling headphones, dollar store earbuds and bluetooth headsets.
Philadelphia recently passed an ordinance for talking on cell phones, a rampant distraction for pedestrians, bicyclists and especially motorists. The National Highway Safety Administration accounts that cell phone usage contributes to more than 2,600 traffic deaths annually, and if you are pulled over in Philadelphia for using a cell phone you will be fined a whopping $150. So theoretically your hands free bluetooth will cost more than riding with one hand stuck to your ear or texting about the latest gossip about "Twilight New Moon" to your friend Brittany.
Now what about bicycling on the sidewalk? In June 2009 Mayor Nutter signed a new law that raised the fines for bicycling on the sidewalk from $10 to $50 (In fact the Police charge $54, go figure). Compare that fine to Red Light Running, responsible for 900 traffic deaths and 153,000 injuries. Running a Red Light in Philadelphia will set you back $119. So if you need to use Roosevelt Boulevard you should really weigh the option of bicycling on the highway rather than on the sidewalk.
The proposed confiscation of bicycles without brakes is perhaps the most misunderstood concept of all. It appears that City Council does not understand the technology of fixed gear bicycles. Isaiah Thompson does a good job explaining this issue on the CityPaper's Clog. When are motor vehicles subject to confiscation? Well apparently if you are cited for Driving Under the Influence your vehicle could be confiscated. DUI contributes to 12,000 traffic deaths per year.
The oddities of Philadelphia's Bicycle Regulations raises the question as to why most of them are needed at all? The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania already has a good set of laws on the books pertaining to bicycles that conform with Chapter 11 of the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) which is a set of model traffic laws for states and local governments to adopt.
The Bicycle Coalition is involved in a deliberate process that will make recommendations to reform Bicycle regulations in the Philadelphia Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. But we may have an opportunity now to begin the discussion of fair and just bicycle laws with City Council.