Friday, July 22, 2011

Philadelphia Smug Alert


In a recent article in the Daily Inquirer about how the Philadelphia Police Department was stepping up the enforcement side of the “Give Respect, Get Respect”. It stated that 590 cyclists had been issued warnings for violating traffic laws. This has brought on a severe case of smugness from two cycling advocacy groups.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia; in a recent post on their blog took issue that the Philadelphia police had a disproportionate response of cars to bicyclists:
  • 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
If the BCGP had actually taken the time to read the brochures that were part of the campaign, they would have noticed that the Driver Guide is designed to teach drivers about being alert for bicyclists and pedestrians. Automobile drivers already know what will happen if they run red lights and stop signs. The Bicycle Guide teaches cyclists that they have to follow the same traffic laws as cars and riding on sidewalks or against traffic is illegal.
The other case of smugness comes from the soon to be former Executive Director of Neighborhood Bike Works Catherine "Kitty" Heite. Who posted on Monday, July 18 on their Facebook page a response of: “interesting... Glad to know NBW already focuses on teaching the youth what their responsibilities as cyclists are”, to the article in the Daily Inquirer. While ignoring a fundraiser held for NBW, The Works Volume 1, on May 14, 2011. An Alley Cat with prizes based on speed and how many points you accrue on the course. How do you complete an Alley Cat race quickly? By running red lights, stops signs, and breaking any traffic law that comes to mind. This is an oxymoron, raising money by breaking traffic laws to teach children to ride safely. Its moments like this when you understand why Neighborhood Bike Works is looking for a new Executive Director.
The Philadelphia Police Department has shown admirable restraint in educating cyclists about traffic laws and how it applies to them. 590 warnings is more than ample and if some cyclists still don’t understand then I am sure a $120.00 ticket will.

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