As much as I would like to get behind Byko’s Safe Bike Ride, I just can’t. And it appears that the vast majority of Philly cyclists and Stu Bykofsky’s fanboys feel the same way. Contrary to Stu’s boast that “My strategy is to attract the ones who want to kill me. They are the majority. I am going for volume.” It appears that the majority has spoken and they have no interest in killing Mr. Bykofsky. Instead they are ignoring him.
There is one good thing that came out of this ride, when Mr. Bykofksy attempted to dominate the conversation on the ride’s Facebook page. Normally when Mr. Bykofsky interacts with cyclists and and cycling advocates it his through his opinion articles. Where he controls the narrative and can claim that his personal opinions are facts, without having to contend with actual facts or opinions other than his own. This time was different, when he foisted his opinions on Facebook. He was not ready for what happened, people pushed back with actual facts and challenged his statements.
My favorite interaction with Mr. Bykofsky was when he stated; “Oddly, the Bicycle Coalition does not do studies on red-light-running cyclists. I wonder why?” Implying that his personal opinion that all cyclists run red lights would be validated. Therefore there must be some vast conspiracy to cover this up. When I asked why didn’t Mr. Bykofsky conduct a survey of his own his response was one of denial; “ Because you wouldn't accept the result “. That’s right folks it’s my fault that Mr. Bykofsky refuses to prove his own theory.
The Byko Safe Bike Ride is a “Courteous Mass”, during which the participants obey all stop lights and traffic signals to the letter of the law. Sometimes rides like this are used to demonstrate just what could happen if cyclists were to obey the letter of the law, to the extent that most car drivers do not.
When bike lanes were implemented in 2009 Stu Bykofsky created a mythology that all cyclists break the law by running red lights and stop signs or by riding on the sidewalk. By claiming that his personal opinion are actual facts.
Since that time the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and other well intentioned, but misguided cyclists have been under the impression that if they could just get Stu to ride a bike he would have an epiphany. Something Mr. Bykofsky made clear would not happen in his column “Byko: Want a piece of me” when he stated “So this is not, in the words of a biker friend, "the Ride to Cure Byko."
And yet this belief that continues to be seen on the Byko’s Safe Bike Ride Facebook page by apologists for Stu, in the form of comments as; “What better way to change someone's mind, then to involve them.” and “But maybe he's not manipulating us, maybe we are manipulating him.”, My personal favorite is “His column has served as a platform for bicycle recognition and change.”
Nothing is going to change Mr. Bykofsky’s opinion. I can only hope that this ride will finally lay this theory to rest and everyone will stop giving Stu the attention and perception of legitimacy he desires.