In 2011 the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia annual Ride to Work day featured a group ride to City Hall with such elected luminaries as Mayor Michael Nutter, Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady. Regrettably the BCGP memorialized this glorious event with an inspiring quote from Congressman Bob Brady; “he could get used to this whole bicycling thing, provided it always came with a bottle of water and a police escort”. It comments like this that make commuting by bicycle sound as safe walking through Philadelphia at night with $100 bills in each hand.
After taking the BCGP to task for this in this blog post it appears that they read it and did better this year. This year the BCGP blog post was filled with quotes from Mayor Michael Nutter. This time they had all sorts of wonderful quotes that included media friendly comments about cars parking bicycle lanes, Philadelphia as a city for cyclists, and bike lanes. This is a good beginning for the BCGP.
So what would I do?
I would like to see the BCGP raise the bar in 2013 for Bike to Work Day. Making bicycle commuting more friendly to the average person, something beyond a one day public relations stunt. How about the occasional profile of Philadelphia area bicycle commuters? New York City's Transportation Alternatives has been doing this for years in their quarterly magazine. Many of the people have commuted long before it was fashionable or even considered normal, and have unique jobs that are within the mainstream. They all manage to do quite well even though they don't have tattoos or wear spandex.