Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crackdown That Isn't Really One Needs More Equity

Monday's Daily News story about the "Give Respect Get Respect" enforcement campaign got picked up by the media.  Metro did a front page story, and CBS 3 ran a story last night. (The cameraman happened to film a cyclists slamming on brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian crossing against a light.)

This isn't news to us.  We blogged about this campaign on May 2, May 16, and May 19, and had Captain Clark brief the Philadelphia Cycling Committee on June 16.  We also created a page about the campaign, making the handouts and presentations downloadable.

The Mayor's Office of Transportation release the following numbers yesterday:
  • Bicyclists - 590 warnings issued, 3 moving violations and 7 Code Violation Notices (CVNs) for riding on the sidewalk
  • Motorists - 116 warning issued, 37 moving violations and 50 CVS for distracted driving

While the Bicycle Coalition supports stepped-up enforcement of all users of the road, we are disappointed with these numbers.  Although motorists are getting most of the tickets, the unbalanced number of stops and warnings makes it understandable why cyclists feel targeted.  The lack of any (reported) pedestrian stops is mystifying. 

The campaign's intention was to balance education and enforcement efforts between motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.  The City's April 29th press release stated that it would "remind drivers, cyclists and pedestrians about traffic safety."  That release went on to say that "distracted driving, sidewalk riding and pedestrians who are looking at their phones instead of both ways creates dangerous situations for everyone...."  If that's the case, the number of stops should be more comparable between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians - not a ratio of 590:116:0.



Kathy said...

I would not be disappointed in these numbers. Proportionaly cyclists are more likely to break the law. I almost never see a car go the wrong way on a street or drive through a red light. I love cycling but as a center city resident cyclist and driver, I think we need to up the enforcement on cyclists before some gets killed.

Paul said...


You almost never see a car go the wrong way on a street or drive through a red light?

Do you ever leave the house?

JustinC said...

Proportionally cyclists are more likely to break the law, or just the two laws you mentioned? What percentage of car drivers do you think don't ever speed, always come to a full stop at every stop sign, signal every time, never cross solid lines, etc.?

All road users break the law, frankly. It doesn't excuse the behavior, but please at least call it the way it is. The big difference is that one group is on a 30 pound machine and the other is inside a 3000 pound one. If your big worry is someone getting killed, let's look at the statistics: How many drivers of cars kill people vs. how many cyclists kill people? You're worrying about the possibility of more people getting killed by cyclists when car drivers already kill thousands.

If you're really worried about deaths on the road, lobby for stricter enforcement of speeding, passing berth, road rage, and drunk driving laws as well as ask that drivers (of all vehicles) be held accountable for their actions, regardless of if they meant to hurt someone or not.

Junaid said...

The big difference is that one group is on a 30 pound machine and the other is inside a 3000 pound one.

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