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so does anyone feel that this is getting kind of serious? I mean, washcycle, as always you put together a poignant, scathing criticism of fallacious reasoning. But it doesn't change the fact that idiots like Stu have a huge readership compared to this blog and its Philly counterpart.

The backlash in Philly scares me because this could be a harbinger of a rise in anti-cycling sentiment in other cities around the US. What can the community do to extinguish this vitriol? I'm not looking for the cookie cutter "dont run red lights" suggestions.

Ever since I started biking, I don't listen to NPR as much as I used to. But yesetrday, I had to drive and on my way to the function I had to visit, there was a segment on reader responses about some bicycling story they had a day or so before.

I could have written that segment without any knowledge of the original report or reader repsonses. They quoted some woman who said that her biggest problem with bicyclists is that they run red lights. It's the same stupid stuff over and over and over again.

This is going to be a long and hard battle and at $3 a gallon it is too easy for drivers to keep driving too much in cars that are too big. That is just a fact.

Proposing ridiculous fines as above is pathetic, especially considering what people are doing in cars which are obviously going to have a much more severe impact when something goes wrong.

Excellent analysis, as usual washcycle. The facts are kinda vague, though. Were both cyclists wearing headphones and riding fixies on the sidewalk when they collided with the pedestrians? Or is this just the perfect excuse for a crackdown?

BTW, I have no problem with banning bikes from sidewalks. Once the ban is in place, however, the city is obligated to make its streets safe for cyclists.

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.


Now fuck off, suburban troll...

I guess the idea behind registering cyclists is that if you try a hit-and-run like the first guy that somebody can get your plate number and then track you down.

I'd be interested to know if there are any actual statistics on bicycle/pedestrian accidents. Sure, I would assume that a cyclist killing a pedestrian is rare but I would bet that cyclists hitting pedestrians is not all that rare. So what recourse do you have when the cyclist says "oops sorry!" and rides off? A person in a car wouldn't do that if they knocked you down, because there are actual consequences because they are traceable.

As for how to combat anti-cycling sentiment, I'm not sure. I think more mode separation and better bike infrastructure on certain streets should be used to try to pull people away from cycling on streets that have heavier car traffic. Until somebody has the balls to do something that will really get people out of their cars (like raise gas taxes, or triple investment in transit) then cars will be the dominant mode of travel and it might be in our best interest to avoid certain spaces.

You combat anti-cycling sentiment the same way you support any other urban quality-of-life choice:

Like-minded people will continue to be drawn to cycling-friendly cities like DC, NYC, Portland, SF, etc... Cities that discourage cycling (and walking, and transit) will continue to wither.

Look at DC. There are DC residents who hate cyclists. They're a tiny minority of voters. Most anti-cyclist sentiment comes from--where else--suburban commuters. These folks would bitch-slap pedestrians, too, given a chance. Because they're an inconvenience. And if there's one cardinal sin in the 'burbs, it's the sin against convenience.

Anyway, vive local control.

IMHO any attempt to enact the Idaho law here in the District will fail. It's way too far-reaching and will attract a wide range of interest groups who feel that any legislation that takes away from motorists is bad, if not evil.

An incremental approach to the issue might be in order. Why not develop legislation that would apply to those "T" intersections where the cyclist is riding across the top of the "T". Traffic coming either into the "T" or traveling in the opposite direction cannot cut in front of the cyclist.

There are *many* streets in the District that this could apply to.

If this proves successful, additional types of intersections could be added at a later date.

Hit and run is actually very common for drivers.


So plates haven't solved that problem.

I have looked for a long time for stats on cyclist-pedestrian and cyclist-cyclist crashes and have found very little. I did find some stats for NYC which I tried to extrapolate out (as I recall a pedestrian is 1000 times more likely to be killed by a driver and a cyclist is 50 times less likely to kill a pedestrian than a driver - per capita) but I'll need some time to find that again if you want. But, in the absence of any data, I think it's reasonable to assume that cyclists hit pedestrians with the same frequency that drivers do.

In the meantime, I wonder why the daily violence done by drivers on our roads passes without comment. How many motorist hit & run crashes have there been in Philly this year?

In PA the fine for wearing earphones or headphones while cycling is $50, not $3. In the law, the prohibition is earphones connected to an audio device. Unlike VA which allows for single earpiece listening, PA bans all headphones. While not intended for, this may prohibit handsfree or bluetooth cellphone earpieces.

As for Oboe's comment, Bykofsky is a Philly resident. It is his arguments that are wrong, not his address.

I certainly don't condone the actions of the cyclists involved in the deaths in Philly--by all accounts they were acting recklessly.

But these analyses also beg the question: How many pedestrians have been killed by motorized vehicles this year?


this is an excellent critical essay. i dont know how much good it'll do, but it is excellent nevertheless!!

as far as the issues involved, my fellow bicyclists, none of what is proposed will likely affect your daily riding conditions, because all of the proposals are unenforceable.

as regards philly, where ive spent a zillion miles on a bike, its colonial infrastructure and recent stupid development over the past 50 years assures safety for cyclists as long as you know which streets to use...

Everyone else seems to have already captured my thoughts on the issue, so I won't chime in other than to say that:

1. The cyclists were wrong. Salmons are dangerous. At least one of them stayed at the scene of the incident.

2. The type of reaction this brought out makes my blood boil. Let's think of all the other things that kill people that aren't fined/banned/regulated (not to say that they all should, but...): motor vehicles, guns, alcohol, tobacco, processed foods, McDonalds, falling in the shower, choking on chicken bones... Where does it end?

The world isn't going to be perfectly safe all the time. But perspective on what constitutes real danger (as opposed to perceived danger) is not only important, but is lacking from Bykofsky's thought process and column.

As for Oboe's comment, Bykofsky is a Philly resident. It is his arguments that are wrong, not his address.

Okay, fine:

"There are [Philly] residents who hate cyclists. They're a minority of voters. Most anti-cyclist sentiment comes from--where else--suburban commuters."

Better? Look, my point is, pro-cyclist policies have a natural urban constituency. The reason DC and New York are implementing all this bike infrastructure is that it has the support of voters. There certainly is no equivalent suburban constituency for utility cycling.

Wait, both cyclists were riding against traffic, and they're increasing fines for headphones? And talking about license plates? Where is enforcement and hefty fines for the stupidest part, riding against traffic?

I know Rich, it's the worst kind of policy.

Hey oboe can you attempt to use a less broad brush? I am a "suburban commuter" (depending on how you define the suburbs I guess) AND a DC bike commuter. As in, I ride my bike from the suburbs to DC. Even when I did drive (and do now occasionally with Zipcar), I never had any complaints about bikes or peds.

The point is, and I think you're demonstrating it well, that some people are jerks. Jerks can live anywhere. The jerks you notice happen to also have license plates giving clues as to their origins and maybe you DO encounter more MD and VA drivers treating you badly than DC drivers---but I have to tell you that there's a pretty even 33% share for all parties in my experience--just depends on the neighborhood I'm riding in.

From a Contrarian comment from a previous thread?:

"Guez, I call bull. Show me one verified instance of a cyclist disregarding rules causing a car-on-car accident or a pedestrian fatality anywhere in the US in the past year. It just doesn't happen in the real world."

How about 2?

Oh, burn...

"There certainly is no equivalent suburban constituency for utility cycling."

Perhaps not in this region, but it exists in other regions...

Further to Oboe's comments re urban v suburban: I do not know where one starts, and the other begins. I mean, the density around downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda, or Old Town Alexandria, seem a lot higher than large sections of D.C.

I think its more accurate to say that there are jerks everywhere.

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