Bikers Rights? I’ll give you a bikers right!

Everyone is abuzz about Philadelphia proposing new laws aimed at cyclists. They want to increase the fines to astronomical amounts for riding on the sidewalk, riding with earbuds, and riding a bike with no brakes. They also want to charge $20 to register your bike! To avoid a fine, I would have to spend almost $200 in registration fees for bikes that I own. That is just insane, and more than it costs to register and inspect a car in Pennsylvania! These laws are kneejerk reactions by law makers because two people were hit and killed by cyclists, but there is never anything done when a cyclist is killed, or run off the road by SEPTA, the PPA, delivery trucks. How about the unsafe positions cyclists are put in by jaywalkers? What about the morons that stand in the bike lane to look down the road for buses and cabs? Where is their fine or sanctions? If riding on the sidewalk has a $300 fine, then blocking a bike lane should be equal. The city would make a fortune fining everyone who uses the bike and transit only lanes on Chestnut every day. Unless the city enforces the traffic laws in regards to cyclists, their silly laws will get no respect.

There are issues with idiot fixie riders who have no idea how to control their bike. They ride a fixie because they are more “efficent” and they do not want to mess with the asthetic of the bike by putting a brake on the bike. Their are plenty of riders who can ride brakeless for years and not have any issues, but with the increase in this fad, there are more that have no idea what they are doing and end up bumping into cars, people, and often the street in order to stop. As comical as it is to watch, it is dangerous and needs to be controlled by other forces than natural selection, because frankly, that is taking too long.

I agree with the fine for riding on the sidewalk. This will mostly affect delivery riders for food places. They are riding unsafe bikes with heavy loads on the sidewalks to avoid being run over by a speeding club goer while delivering the shrimp fried rice or pizza that you ordered. They are an issue in certain parts of center city, but giving a delivery person a $300 fine is a waste of time, and is not going to get paid anyway since most are undocumented workers and barely make $300 a week. I dont think anyone has been injured by Raul delivering a calzone to Rittenhouse at 9pm. If these fines are going to be handed out to couriers who ride on the side walks, I am all for it, Get in the street rookie!

I do remember the day when Callahan got two sidewalk tickets in the same day….on the same block! That was just funny as hell.

Other cities have laws like these. They are mostly used by cops to bust couriers for a small bag of weed or pick them up for something they may have done before. Cops would come to Dupont Circle in DC where the couriers hang out and look for bikes that were not registered, missing brakes, or ones that did not have a bell and then pick on the guy and try to either give him a ticket, or just run their name to see if anything came up. It is totally shitty police work when they do stuff like that. The same thing would happen in San Fran. Total waste of police time, and a good way to erode any positive presence that the cops had.

Jaywalkers and folks waiting for the bus are more of a danger to cyclists, than the cyclists are to them. In any two bock stretch in the city, there are hundreds of people jaywalking in the middle of the block, opposite lights, talking in the crosswalk, you name it. The guy who was killed by a cyclist was wearing headphones, and walking outside of the crosswalk when he was struck. I am sorry that he died, but he took a risk and lost!

When I was a courier and still when I ride, I like to pull my best Steve Carelton, and brush back the folks standing waiting for the bus. If they are standing in the street, I will ride right at them until they back up, or brush right by them while they are taking up a whole lane just looking up the block for the bus. I do not understand the behavior of folks waiting for the bus, but hopefully when a big ass dude flying within inches of your face comes by, they understand the brush back.

When the PPA, delivery trucks, taxis, SEPTA, or whomever brakes the laws in regards to cyclists, I often give them a quick reminder about the law. The fine I often levy is a bit of well placed saliva while riding by a delivery truck, or a good knock on the hood of a cabbie. My favorite is to push the rearview mirrors back or knock them off of a particulary pesky driver.

My favorite street justice experience was when someone was trying to run me off the road coming down from the Chestnut St. bridge (which if you are not a Philly person, is a decent hill that turns into a potholed mess near the bottom where cars and busses are turning every which way) once we got into traffic, I stopped next to his open window and dumped my full water bottle onto his lap!  Nothing will “learn you” like having the pants scared off of you (0r having them soaked). Is this safe or effective? That is doubtful, but it makes me feel better.

Let the cops deal with real crime, or enforce the laws on the 2000 lb vehecial instead of the 200 lb cyclist. It is simply a waste of time, effort, and positive citizenship.

Along with the news of the proposed laws, there were also these cycling headlines in Philadelphia today:

Police: Driver texting about drug deal hits biker

One Response to “Bikers Rights? I’ll give you a bikers right!”
  1. Jenni says:

    Wow. Just wow. It seems like a very exorbitant fee structure. Like crazy.

    To be honest, I am in favor of cyclists having licenses. And I’d be happy to teach all of the classes. Cha-ching.

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