Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stu brings 'naked truth' on 2 wheels

Stop the presses! Stu Bykofsky has finally discovered the joy of bike-riding! That's the spin a lot of tweets and other references to today's Stu Bykofsky column are giving.

Stu brings 'naked truth' on 2 wheels

Stu Bykofsky isn´t against cycling; he´s against scofflaw cycling. Here, he hits the saddle for some biking in the Berkshires. (Photo: Sonya Bykofsky)
Stu Bykofsky isn't against cycling; he's against scofflaw cycling. Here, he hits the saddle for some biking in the Berkshires. (Photo: Sonya Bykofsky)

Stop the presses! Stu Bykofsky has finally discovered the joy of bike-riding!

That's the fun spin a lot of tweets and other references to today's Stu Bykofsky column are giving, though of course regular readers will recall that Stu has always said he's in favor of bike-riding, just against scofflaw riders. Which apparently is (not sure where this statistic comes from) "almost all" of them.

Almost all bikers break the law. If they don't ride on sidewalks (most don't), then they ride against traffic or ignore stop signs or fail to stop at red lights. Despite repeated promises from the city, enforcement on bicycles - vehicles under state law - is as rare as snow in July.

So the new Give Respect, Get Respect enforcement campaign that's been going on for a couple of months in Center City should be just the ticket, so to speak. And as Morgan Zalot reports,

A traffic-enforcement team of bike cops stopped 803 cyclists and motorists from its May 16 launch through Thursday. Of those, 600 were cyclists... Of the cyclists stopped, 590 were issued warnings, while three were cited for moving violations, which commonly include running red lights or riding against traffic and carry the same $120.50 fine as they do for motorists. Seven cyclists received code violations for riding on the sidewalk, which carry a $50 fine.

Stu points to the small number of tickets for bikers as evidence that "enforcement remains a flat tire, a j-o-k-e." This has been a longtime theme in his debate with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

But I would like to see a comparison, percentage-wise (after all, Stu is constantly reminding us what a small "slice" of the commuting population bicyclists are) between law-breaking cyclists ticketed and car drivers ticketed for talking on cell phones while driving, also illegal in Philadelphia. Thus far, enforcement in that area - for an infraction as dangerous as driving drunk - seems to also fit the "j-o-k-e" description.

Zalot's news report begins with a bicyclist literally scoffing at the law and saying "I'm not worried." If the drivers I've seen around town over the past week are indicative, those who are breaking the cell-phone law are also unfazed (and despite the quote about "educational focus" for cyclists, I"m betting a great many are also "uneducated" about the law).

Until that much larger number of "scofflaws" engaging in behavior that kills thousands of people every year start worrying and modifying said behavior, I have a hard time getting exercised about a dude riding on a sidewalk.

That said, it's good to see Stu getting exercised by his own pedaling, and we can always hope that he'll carry the stunt to the extreme and this year, finally, participate in Philly's Naked Bike Ride. Come on! Who's with me on this?

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Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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