Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Fairfield Inn at 261 S. 13th has been using the bicycle lane on 13th St
as part of its valet parking after construction in the area allowed it to
reopen. Unfortunately this practice forced cyclists into the streets on a
regular basis. Whatever discussions that occurred with the Fairfield
and ParkOps valet were fruitless and calling them out on public media
was pointless.

But then there came a paradigm shift in the form of Stuart Leon,
Bicycle Attorney. In the form of a court order requiring Fairfield Inn and
ParkOps valet to stay out of the bike lane. There were those who felt
the following pictures were bad optics. Handing a court order to a hourly
employee. Court orders should be served to company management,
but also to those employees who are most likely to be implement it.

You know what is bad optics? Cyclists getting injured or killed because of
blocked bike lanes. Especially in light of this;

Do you know does not work? Public shaming through social media
and in person protests. They depend on on a sense of responsibility on
the part business owners and if they have none nothing will change.
It won’t matter how many tickets customers or suppliers get or
how professionally anyone advocates for change. Unless there is a
direct impact to a company's profit margin, nothing will change.

What has to change are toothless statements on the part of the
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and its representatives.

For far too many years we have seen attempts by the BCGP to educate
and work the system from the inside. The results of which have led to
greater difficulty in getting new bike lanes installed, faded bike lanes
repainted, and safety issues unaddressed.

That change will come in the form of court orders, when and where
they can be applied. I hope that what Stuart Leon achieved becomes the first of many.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

If I Die Before I Wake

Just recently yet another cyclist has been killed at an intersection by a truck
making a right turn, or as it is more commonly known as, a right hook.
This can happen due any number of factors, driver not signaling for their turns,
failing to check their mirrors, and cyclists being in the trucks blindspot.

A local reporter posted a 15 second video clip showing the crushed and
mangled bicycle of the most recent victim being pulled out from under
the wheels of the truck. Some people felt that this was a violent image
and offensive to the friends and family. There was no body, blood, or
viscera in the video, just a mangled bike.

To those who believe this was violent and offensive imagery, let me
tell you what should be considered violent and offensive. Violent is
getting crushed under the wheels of a truck, knowing there is
nothing you can do. Offensive is when a family member has to
go to the morgue to identify their loved one's body or having to
post a Go Fund Me to cover the costs of the funeral.

I am in the process of instructing my friends and family that if I am killed
while riding my bike they should make what happened as political as
possible. Including a statement to the press with my mangled bike front and center for everyone to see. I don’t want a ghost bike, I want a
New Orleans style funeral procession through the streets with a
casket being towed by a bicycle.

All too often cycling advocates and individual cyclist in Philadelphia
have tried to work with the city to make positive changes only to rebuffed
by City Council. Or subject to city employees who spend more time
trying to create projects that resemble Potemkin villages, instead of
improvements with actual substance.

Personally I believe that anyone getting a non-commercial or
commercial license should have to watch a video with mangled bikes
and brief bios of the people who were killed on them. Along with an
actual bike ride or a training situation like this

It’s time to stop worrying about hurt feelings and to time focus on
cyclists not getting killed.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Philadelphia Social Rides - 2018

With spring and the return of warm temperatures not that far off, people
will be dusting off their bicycles from there long winters hibernation.
For those of you looking for rides that are shorter, leisurely, and about
socializing this is the current list of social rides in Philadelphia.

Social rides in Philadelphia are often 10 to 15 miles long, with no drops,
often involve a final destination where you can eat, drink and
make new friends. Some of the rides listed are monthly,
while others are seasonal/annual.

The Philly Full Moon Ride has been going strong since 2013. Each ride is
held on the full moon of every month, 12 months a year. This ride departs
from the Art Museum stairs and is a night ride.

This is the second iteration of the Philly Bike Party. The organizers have
been very consistent about holding monthly rides and usually work with
some kind of theme. Most of the rides depart from the Art Museum stairs
with occasional departures from The Porch at 30th St. Station and
Love Park. It is a night ride.

Taco Tuesday Ride PHL - https://www.facebook.com/tacoridephl/
Taco Tuesday is the newest ride to Philadelphia. A group of cyclists
attempted to revive the Midnight Pretzel Ride only to find that the
bakery had changed its hours. So they created the Taco Tuesday ride.
Held monthly the Taco Tuesday Ride goes to various restaurants to
eat tacos. This ride departs from the Art Museum stairs and is a night ride.

Night Cycle Philadelphia - https://www.facebook.com/phillybikeride/
A night ride that departs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and final
stop at a local bar.

The PMA Bike Ride delivers pizza to those in need who may be
living on the streets.

Cycle Scene PHL has brought many of the local rides together
to create a singular resource. It is also where you can find mass
rides planned by Alexandria Schnieder. Past rides organized by
Ms. Schnieder have included; The PopeRide, RideDNC, and
Cycle en Color. All of these rides have drawn over 1000 cyclists per ride.

Attracting an average of 100 participants, the Philly Tweed Ride is a time
machine back to 1900’s in England. Tweed and vintage bikes abound,
along with modern takes on a period look. A ride through Philadelphia
with a stop for a picnic and post ride drinks and awards that include,
best dressed, best mustache, and best bike. Held in the fall,
this is a leisurely ride.

Philly Seersucker Vintage Ride & Social - https://www.facebook.com/PhillyDandQ/
The Seersucker Social is a springtime ride with a 1920’s American vibe.
Just like the Tweed Ride this a very well dressed crowd wearing vintage
and vintage looking clothing.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Change is hard, excuses are easy.

On Saturday, March 17 the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia held a
Vision Zero Conference and I did not attend. I chose not to sit through yet
another conference listening to experts and activists talk about what should
be and could be. Or worse yet, politicians making empty promises or
excuses for why they have failed to take any action.

I was truly angry and frustrated with this paraphrased statement attributed to
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Change is hard, making excuses is easy and Mayor Kenney has really good one above.
When Kenney ran for the office he made two commitments that I was very impressed by,
“Stolen Sidewalks” and 30 miles of protected bike lanes.

In Philadelphia when buildings are being constructed or renovated the sidewalks are
often blocked off to pedestrian traffic with no safe alternative. For decades in
New York City this issue has been dealt with the creation of “sheds” scaffolding
running the length of the sidewalk with a roof on it to prevent construction debris
from falling on pedestrians. As part of Kenney’s campaign he committed to ending the
practice of stolen sidewalks. Two years later nothing has changed.

Kenney’s other campaign commitment was to build 30 miles of protected bike
lanes during his four year term. So far we only have two miles, along with multiple
attempts to install unprotected bike lanes shut down due to Councilmanic claims of
“neighborhood concerns”. Kenney’s announcement of two five block long protected
bike lanes along JFK Blvd. and Market St. should have been greeted with derisive
response of “this is the best you have to offer after two years??!!”

It does not matter how many posts on social media Mayor Kenney reads, his apology
for not making change as fast has have we wanted was misleading. Mayor Kenney
has deliberately withheld several million dollars in grants to improve bike lane safety,
claiming the money does not exist. He should be apologizing for deliberately refusing
to make changes, making him complicit.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire #2

With the start of a new year, it didn’t take long for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Janine Blackwell to create more lies about the protected bike lane on Chestnut St. In the February 2018 issue of Philadelphia Magazine, page 140, in an interview when asked “If I could have vetoed one piece of legislation, it would have been…” Responded with “the bike lanes on on Chestnut St. between 45th and 34. People feel different ways about it. You’ve lost a driving lane; there a parking issues. It’s a big problem. But the bikers love it.”

To say that I am shocked and surprised by this statement would be a lie on my part. Lets remember this is the same Councilwoman Blackwell who announced at the ribbon cutting for the Chestnut St. protected bike lane that the bike lane would now be considered a pilot test and subject to removal in 90 days. Although 90 days have passed, the threat still remains.

What I find appalling is the deafening silence in response to her statement. It was Councilwoman Blackwell who sponsored and signed the ordinance that led to the creation of the Chestnut St. Bike Lane. There are several players involved in this who seem to be enabling this lie.

First there is Philadelphia Magazine writer Victor Fiorilli and the magazines fact checkers who somehow failed to double check this statement. One would think that being media professionals that they would be capable of finding out Councilwoman Blackwell sponsored the ordinance for the creation of the Chestnut St. protected bike lane.

Then there is the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Not a single Tweet, post to social media or article on their blog. This failure to respond should come as no surprise. For years the BCGP has been trying to be political insiders which has led to failures including the #unblockbikelanes campaign and giving control of all new bike lane installation to Philadelphia City Council. While the paint on bike lanes in Philadelphia have faded away to nothing and new bike lanes have been blocked by Council members over “neighborhood concerns”. The BCGP has refused to organize any kind of protest or rally. Instead they are focusing their attention on the suburbs and “completing the circuit.

In between the statement by Councilwoman Blackwell, Philadelphia Magazine's failure to fact check their interview, and the silence from the BCGP it’s hard to say who the worst hypocrite is. Given the fact that we currently have a President who took office with the lie of having the largest attendance at his inauguration to his most recent lie of having the most viewers for his State of the Union. It is no surprise that Councilwoman Blackwell has not been called out for the liar that she is. At a time in American history when accountability is no longer part of doing your job.