Philadelphia Cyclists Begin Response to Proposed Licensing and Fines
About two weeks ago we reported on a few council proposals in Philadelphia to require bicycle licensing and increase the fines for various cycling offenses, brought about at least in part by two recent pedestrian deaths as a result of cyclists colliding with them. The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia has issued a statement in response, and is surely working behind the scenes to counter licensing through the courtroom if need be. Acknowledging that as with some motorists, some cyclists too bend and outright ignore the rules to suit their needs, the statement goes on to say:
Philadelphia’s streets need to be made safer for everyone. The first step toward safer streets is equitable and consistent enforcement of traffic laws as they apply to all road users.
With regards to laws requiring registration and licensing of bicycles, the Bicycle Coalition does not support a mandatory program. Among other issues, we are concerned about the potential for a registration program to discourage riders, impose financial disincentives, and expose the City to numerous legal issues. Peer cities and states have passed and then repealed registration and licensing programs. We recommend a thorough investigation of registration and licensing programs in other cities to determine whether such programs would help or hinder efforts to achieve peace on Philadelphia’s streets.
The Sunday media coverage has shone light on the cyclist’s side of the debate, with the Metro reporting on the Philadelphia Bicycle Messenger Association (PBMA) rallying behind a hit and run victim of their own, while the Philadelphia Weekly featured an editorial about the one-sided and misinformed mainstream coverage of the council proposals.
Members of the PBMA are meeting Monday November 30th at 5pm at the corner of 16th and JFK Boulevard today to distribute an official statement about recent events.