In the first homicide a wrong-way cyclist hit a paralegal and left him to die in the street without giving assistance. Authorities are still trying to find the cyclist. In the second homicide, a pedestrian was again hit by a wrong-way cyclist, who did not flee the scene. That cyclist has not been charged at this point (which I think is very unfortunate. The cyclist was riding in an unsafe manner, saw the pedestrian and hit him. He should be charged, IMO).
As a result, a pair of Philadelphia City Council Members introduced tougher penalties for bike violations.
Kenney's legislation would increase the fine for riding on the sidewalk from $10 to $300, increase the fine for riding with headphones from $3 to $300 and require that people on bicycles without brakes face a $1,000 fine or confiscation.
$3 does seem ridiculous, but then so does $300, especially since the fine for driving while talking on the phone is only $75.
In PA, bikes are required to have a "braking system" which includes fixed gear bikes according to Mark J. Ginsberg a Portland, OR bike lawyer.
Mr. Ginsberg said that most states have adopted a standard definition of bike’s brakes that is technology independent. “No where does it say what the brake should look like; it only says what it should do,” he said. In most states — though not New York — the rule is that a bike moving at 15 miles per hour must be able to stop in 15 feet, something that is “easily done” on a fixed gear by riders of all levels, Mr. Ginsberg added.
But Bob Mionske is less sure, and calls out DC as the exception:
“Fixie riders argue that the fixed gear hub functions as a brake when backwards pressure is applied to the pedals, and that they are capable of meeting the required performance standard for stopping,” said Robert Mionske, author of Bicycling and the Law. “So far, that has tended to be a losing argument in traffic courts.”
There have not been other attempts to legislate fixies off city streets, Mr. Mionske said. “In fact, Washington D.C. has gone the other route, and embraced fixies, by revising their bicycle ordinance to specify that a fixed gear hub is a brake.”
The crazy thing is that even if you put a brake on a fixed gear bike, there is no obligation to use it. So it's kind of pointless. And I'd still love to see that research that points to the fact that fixed gear bikes are involved in more collisions.
DiCicco's bill would require registration of all bicycles owned by persons 12 and older.
I can't figure out for the life of me how registering bicycles makes pedestrians (or anyone) safer.
Turns out he actually wants cyclists to have license plates. So, how do I get around if I bring my bike to Philly?
"This is not an attempt to put any roadblocks on that effort," he said. "This is a way in which we can educate people riding bicycles to obey the rules of the road." DiCicco said that his proposed legislation would make it easier to track bikes involved in accidents.
And I don't see how registration helps education. Even the Inquirer thinks it's "silly" and they welcome the crackdown. They wrote a whole opinion piece on the registration in which the author, a cyclist, talks about pedestrians in exactly the same way drivers talk about cyclists.
A cyclist must obey traffic laws, but a pedestrian listening to an iPod - and completely oblivious to his or her surroundings - is somehow free of any guilt.
Odd that wrong-way cycling wasn't one of the violations to get an increased fine since it was the cause.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Angel Cruz (D., Phila.) introduced a bill similar to DiCicco's that would require bikes in the city to be registered and have the same safety features as motorcycles, such as lights.
Lights at night or in low light? Absolutely. On a sunny afternoon? Stupid.
A Daily News Columnist, Stu Bykofsky, got in the act with a ridiculous anti-cyclist article. Let's start with the title "If cyclists want rights they should follow rules." No, that's not how it works. Cyclists have rights. They are inherent. Yes, they should follow the rules, but it is not a quid pro quo. Drivers don't follow the rules but no one questions there rights to the road.
In September, the city surrendered one of two traffic lanes on Spruce and Pine streets in Center City to cyclists.What kind of a perverted quota system gives 50 percent of any city street - designed for cars - to bikes, which account for 1.2 percent of Philadelphia commuters?
But do cyclists have 50% of ALL roads. I think not. Faulty logic.
if we get more cyclists, as seems to be the city's wet dream, we'll get more injury and death.
He actually wrote about nocturnal emissions - classy. And he's wrong. If there more cyclists that would probably mean fewer drivers, which would surely lead to less death and injury.
DiCicco's idea was a good start.
Let's put more on the table. If you want parity with cars, how can you not agree to be insured?
Let's license adult bikers as we do motorists, to assure that they are competent and know the law.
No more parking anywhere you want for free. Like cars, you will park only in designated areas. You will feed a meter or pay for space on a rack, in a lot or garage.
Did I mention that your bike must have a horn or bell, brakes, a rear-view mirror, front and rear lights, all of which will be tested annually in a city-licensed bike shop? You will wear a helmet and reflective tape for safety.
Which reminds me of people who objected to the ERA by saying women would have to serve in the military (I know, a crazy idea) and use the men's room. Besides if he's interested in parity then he'd have to make kids wear helmets in cars and drivers stay in the right lane. And he goes way over with the helmets; drivers don't wear helmets. It's a ridiculous premise and based on the false idea that cyclists want parity. We don't any more than pedestrians do. Would he like to license pedestrians?
[Bicycling] will never be a serious mode of transportation in and around Philly.
I'd say at 1.2% it already is, and I'd be willing to make a wager on it not rising to his definition of "major". Never is a very long time.
Later the same columnist responds to his critics by complaining about how bike lanes have made it harder for him to drive across town (from 7 minutes to 5 minutes) and sail through lights, and suggests 3 foot wide cycletracks. That does not sound safe. And he continues to say that cycling is a tiny fraction of road traffic, so why is it such a safety hazard? Why make such a big deal about it?
The NY Times Spokes Column wrote about the issue, pointing out that Bykofsky
also criticized Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s decision this summer to have the city give equal consideration to bikes in future transportation efforts.
“The message these city council members is sending is: We don’t want people riding bikes,” said Mark J. Ginsberg, a Portland, Ore., cycling lawyer who helped draft the state’s bike laws. In Oregon, there had been similar legal confusion over the status of fixed gear bikes — whether the act of pedaling backward constitutes a brake — and Mr. Ginsberg sought to add language to specifically address the issue in 2006. “What got shot down was the extra ‘and a fixed gear has a brake,’” he said.
All of this has led to a protest by bike messengers.
Nearly 100 bicycle messengers rallied at John F. Kennedy Plaza yesterday evening to protest what they called a growing "anti-cycling" mood in the city.
They also decried an incident in which they said an angry motorist ran a cyclist off a Center City street on Thanksgiving morning, causing her to land on her face and suffer a broken jaw.
The Philadelphia City Paper calls for the Idaho Stop, which they call the Boise Stop.
"Cyclists tend to avoid streets that have stop signs because it's too much of a hindrance. So they move over to the more traveled arterial ways."
In other words, Boise Law would curtail interaction between cyclists and motorists. It would also, according to Mionske, encourage cyclists to use neighborhood streets and would reduce the amount of time spent in intersections where many collisions occur.
Bob is smart.
The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia participated in a live chat on cycling and have submitted an editorial that will run some time this week.
It's very unusual for a cyclist to kill a pedestrian. So when it happens it is a man bites dog story, especially if it happens twice in one year or if a reward is offered in one case. But it's sadly normal for a driver to kill a pedestrian and so this is not nearly as newsworthy. I think the two cyclists who were involved in these crashes should be prosecuted appropriately, but if you really want to make streets safer, you're cracking down on the wrong group. This is like not allowing passengers to board planes with knives, but allowing guns. Yes, bad cycling can kill. But bad driving is the real risk. The ratio is something like 1000 to 1. So for every cop you have writing cyclist tickets, you need 1000 writing tickets to drivers.