Byko vs. 'bikeheads:' New nuance

He's at it again: Philadelphia's self-appointed bike-culture critic Stu Bykofsky today ratchets up the volume in his cri de coeur against the two-wheeled onslaught. While he's crowing about a "Pushback against those who pedal," the latest installment shows signs of nuance that temper what was previously an ongoing broadside against no-good cyclists. Maybe his much heralded bike-riding photo-op earlier this summer has softened his heart?


Stu Bykofsky bikes in the Berkshires this past summer. (Photo: Sonya Bykofsky)

* Stu comes out in favor, more or less, of the "temporary" (like Stu, most of us don't buy that qualifier) removal of a lane along JFK Boulevard between 15th and 20th.

* Stu reiterates that most cyclists don't ride on sidewalks - a safety menace he railed about extensively in his pre-photo-op days - and that in fact, this ban only applies in business districts anyway.

* While proposing registration for bicycles, Stu admits that in the long run, the idea might not work, given other cities that have tried and abandoned it.

Lest you think Byko has turned into a kumbaya-chanting bike-friendly hippie, he does continue his habit of name-calling ("pedalphiles," har har; "bikeheads" "shriek"; "bikehead blowhards" are "yappy about rights," etc.) and still seems to inflate the potential menace of bicycle access far beyond what common sense might dictate.

Case in point: An argument for bike license plates is that they "would help cops find bicyclist hit-and-run artists." Excuse me? Is this a rampant problem that's been underreported? Certainly collissions do occasionally occur, but how many bike "hit and runs" have there been in Philly over the past few years?

And meanwhile, how many car accidents, threatening life and limb in a much more extreme way, have there been during that time that are directly ascribable to drivers breaking the law by talking on cell phones?

As usual, on this vehicular danger, Stu "we must enforce the law for public safety" Bykofsky remains as silent as ever, preferring to "pedal" the same old hobby horse he rode in on.