There is all kinds of bike talk going on lately in the Philadelphia area.  If you’re remotely interested in cycling, I’m sure you’ve heard some of it.  Talk of bike registration, increased fines, angry motorist rants, etc.  I’ve only read some of it.  I’ve purposefully avoided the more hateful bits (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about).  I’ve also avoided getting into discussions about it.  It’s a polarizing issue, and there are strong feelings all around.

With that said, please allow me to offer two points that I haven’t seen come up yet.

First, it should be understood that there is some overlap in bike and car use.  Most cyclists have a license, and many motorists have a bike.  The average cyclist is also a motorist, and likely is a decent driver with a keen understanding of the rules of the road, and how to share the road, drive defensively and safely, etc, etc.  The average motorist, on the other hand, is very likely NOT a “cyclist”, familiar with how to ride in heavy traffic and in a dense urban setting.  Articles which attempt to attack cycling in the city serve only to incite motorists, who have little to no concept of what a cyclist has to do to ride safely.  So all you belligerent writers and angry motorists, please invite conversations, don’t incite anger!

Secondly, I hear people ranting about how cyclists don’t obey the law.  I would like to compare the common cycling act of treating stop signs as yield, and red lights as stop signs (which should be the law, but that is another discussion) to speeding.  Any motorist who claims they don’t speed is either lying, or infuriating other drivers on the road.  We all do it, and to an extent, its condoned.  On a highway, it’s arguably safer to go 5 mph above the speed limit and flow with traffic, than to be the car everyone is trying to swerve to pass.  I would argue that cyclists running stop signs and red lights is the same thing.  Sure, its illegal, and it’s not always a good idea.  But in real life riding, its sometimes safe and ok to do.  If you disagree, I challenge you to never crest 55mph on Route 95.

And if you care about this stuff, I implore you to join and support the Bike Coalition of Philadelphia

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