Philly's top bicycle nemesis is back - and we've got him!
Right after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed a "sea change" in transportation policy to "make biking as important as driving" - by building more bike lanes and maybe even an interstate bike-path system - Stu Bykofsky weighs in derisively on local efforts along those lines.
Stu begins by complaining that only 4 tickets have been written to bicyclists in the first quarter of the year, versus six in the same time last year. Oddly, he then cites a similar discrepancy in ticketing cars, but then claims that one is clearly due to the harsh winter, an explanation not considered for bikes - I suppose because there's nothing like a bike for getting around in 23 inches of snow.
He also reiterates that it's ludicrous to trust the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia to monitor the amount of bicycle ridership in the city because they're "partisans." He says this is "like letting vegetarian "volunteers" count hot dogs eaten at a barbecue." An odd choice, given that a more handy true-life analogy would be "letting meat-and-dairy-industry 'professionals' count how much meat and dairy Americans should eat, according to the 'impartial' USDA."
But Stu's piece de resistance today is the fact that the counters are concentrating on good-weather days instead of bad. "The coalition wants to report the highest possible numbers," he explains.
Well, yeah, they probably do. But if it's known that ridership falls in inclement weather (something that may still be debatable given all those bikes whizzing around in two feet of snow), that would logically be factored in as long as you have data points that are consistent with each other - i.e. if you counted in good weather before, you would want to minimize factors that would unfairly alter the current results.
Let me say, though, that I also have still seen bike riders on sidewalks since the bike lanes went into effect. I don't recall anyone claiming that a couple of streets with bike lanes would suddenly change the behavior of the entire city's bicyclists, but if you're one of these sidewalk-riding bozos, remember: Every time you mount that curb, you're only proving Stu Bykofsky right. And really, who wants that?