Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Funnies-Just Do it

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beevis and Butthead

On Friday, June 14, 2013 Stu Bykofsky wrote his latest anti-bicycle screed and I would have responded sooner but every time I tried to reread the column I kept breaking out in a fit of giggles. Stu Bykofsky has finally found the Beevis to his Butthead; former Philadelphia Mayor and current Professor at Temple University John F. Street. Stu was invited as a guest lecturer for one Street's classes on local government and community advocacy because Professor Street “invites speakers who he thinks can be of some value to students”.

As usual there were unsubstantiated comments about bicyclists and bicycle lanes. But it got really funny when Professor Street not only backed up these claims with his own anecdotal evidence. Such as as his assertion that "When you take a person and you put him on a bike, something happens to your brain," Street says. "You get real aggressive, you're like a cabdriver on a bike. It's all about getting there. A stop sign doesn't mean anything." So Professor Street can add Psychologist to his resume.

If students at Temple University want to learn just how corrupt urban government can be then all they need to do is take Professor John F. Street class. He is a case study in ego and failure. When Street graduated Temple Law School he got a clerkship with the U. S. Department of Justice and was quickly terminated for poor performance. After becoming Mayor 18 members of his staff were convicted for corruption during an FBI investigation. When Street was head of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, from 2004 to 2011, Street hired the law firm his son worked at to handle PHA legal matters. Street claimed he had a non-existent waiver and his son billed over 1000 hours on PHA business. Street's brother, Milton Street former State Senator, was convicted for tax fraud on 2 million dollars he received as a consultant by getting companies lucrative city contracts while his brother was in office.

Stu really seems to be grasping at straws these days, he'll do anything to get attention. After his lecture he and Professor Street had lunch afterwards. Which again gave me a fit of giggles as the entire conversation must have gone like this.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review - Mainline Cycles

A few years ago my trusty bike of 20 years gave up the ghost after one repair to many my faithful companion needed to be replaced. So I began a lengthy process of kicking tires to shop for a new bicycle.

As I visited various bicycle shops throughout Philadelphia I kept running into the same phenomena. Bike mechanics who did not how to talk to customers and sales people who lost interest when they realized that I was not a triathlete or a roadie and I was not going to purchase a bicycle that had a price tag of $1000.00 and higher. Every bike shop that I walked into had that standard “bike shop” look, dimly lit, in need of a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint, with a disorganized collection of bikes most of which were high-end road bikes with a few mountain bikes in the mix.

So after running out of options in Philadelphia I started looking at options outside of Philadelphia. When I walked into Main Line Cycles in Narberth and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. A well lit shop with wood floors with a wide range of bicycles on display road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, and cruisers. Bikes ranged from high end for the serious rider to moderately priced bikes for the person who goes for the periodic ride on the weekend. All displayed by category with easy access without the claustrophobic and cramped displays that so many bicycle shops use.

Mainline Cycles is everything a bicycle shop should be. You feel like you have walked into a showroom for a high end automobile. The staff is friendly and welcoming, yet there is no pressure to buy anything and they will take as much time as needed to help you with every purchase.

In subsequent trips to Mainline Cycles I have watched the staff and mechanics to take as much time as needed to help customers. No matter how large or how small the purchase the customers were making they were always treated with respect. Which I believe is the key to the success of any business. Their mechanics a highly experienced in the latest in cycling technology and can handle any repair.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

28 Days Later

On Thursday, May 16, 2013 a cyclist was struck in Philadelphia by a tractor-trailer dump truck. The victim was hit so hard they were taken to the hospital in critical condition and the bicycle shattered into multiple pieces. As seen in this newscast. Safe for the office, click here for link.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reported this on its blog and let everyone know that “We will provide updates when they become available”. 28 days later, nothing.

If you are a bicycling advocacy organization and you post about cyclists hurt in accidents it would really help if you follow up. Especially when the cyclist is taken to the hospital in critical condition.  One would hope that the BCGP would have sufficient contacts within the Philadelphia Police Department and other agencies to get detailed information.

Here are some of the questions that I, and hopefully others would like to see answered:

Was the driver of the vehicle ticketed or charged and if not, why?

Does the cyclist have medical insurance and if not is there a fund I can donate to?

Does the cyclist need money to help bills because they are unable to work due to the extensive injuries and where can I donate?

Is there any type of community awareness ride being planned to set a marker warning people what happened?
If the BCGP reports bad news it would be nice if they could follow up with some good news and tell everyone how they can help. Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We Scream for Ice Cream

In Brimfield Township, Ohio the police are writing tickets to children wearing their helmet. Good for one free ice cream cone from Franks Drive-In, located on SR43. A program that was revived after a ten-year absence.

I hope more community police departments will embrace programs like this on a periodic basis. What could be a more effective way to teach young cyclists best practices then a reward from a police officer in the course of an average day. At the same time this benefits a locally owned business as the child who is ticketed will most likely bring friends and/or family who will also buy ice cream.

This is the precisely the kind of ticket I wish we could all get once in awhile.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

With friends like these, who needs Stu Bykofsky.

Philebrity likes to rail about Stu Bykofsky's anti-bicycle columns, but it appears they are intent on becoming the hipster version of Stu. Their most recent column, Reasonable Humans Draw Up Pedestrian–Cyclist Armistice That Will Be Followed Everywhere But Here Because Of, Well, You Know.

They allude that a recent article in Slate Magazine which promoted a simple solution of mutual respect between cyclists and pedestrians. To end common misperceptions of each other, Philebrity’s response was, it won't work here because “you know”. The problems are, we don't know. Is Philebrity inferring that there is something about Philadelphia cyclists and pedestrians that won't make this work? Do they have to keep perpetuating the myth that all cyclists are bunch lawless renegades. Terrifying little old ladies as they ride on the sidewalks and running stop signs so drivers get into accidents.

Why does Philebrity need to engage in the same type of pot stirring that Stu Bykofsky does? Is this a ploy to increase the number of hits on their website or do they truly feel that Philadelphia cyclists are a bunch of renegades? It would be nice if Philebrity could explain why this won't work, but only they know.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lets annoy Stu Bykofsky even more

An ancestor of Stu Bykofsky from a time when there were no bicycles
The Philadelphia Police Department is holding their annual traffic enforcement in Center City during June.  Focusing on specific areas in Center City, areas with high volumes of motor vehicle offenses. The campaign will be run until June 28th. The map below shows the locations where enforcement will be focused.

View Untitled in a larger map

The goal is to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Center City, increase motorist awareness through education and enforcement. There will be an increase in the number of citations given to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians within the targeted zones.

This will also be a great way to truly annoy Stu Bykofsky. In 2009 Stu Bykofsky opinion writer and professional grumpy old man for the Philadelphia Daily News started writing anti-bicycle articles. According to Stu cyclists or as he likes to call them; bikeheads and pedalphiles.  They are all blatant lawbreakers who either ride on the sidewalks or run red lights and stop signs.  He says that this something every cyclist does, no exceptions and no amount of bike count data will convince him otherwise.

To make matters worse he also claims that because only 1.8% rides bikes three days a week so bike lanes are not needed and take away lanes for cars. What he leaves out is 1.8% of the population of Philadelphia is 27,856 cyclists per week. That doesn’t sound small. Now there is his latest claim, in 2011, 80 cyclists were ticketed and in 2012, the number rose to 88. By Stu’s logic he believes because large numbers of cyclists are not getting tickets there must be very few people riding bicycles. At no time does he even consider that cyclists are not the lawbreakers he thinks they are.

So how can you annoy you annoy Stu Bykofsky? Stay off the sidewalks unless you are walking your bicycle, don’t run stop signs, and wait for green lights. Lets see if we can get the number of tickets issued lower than 88 for 2013.