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Kimberly Garrison: Readers weigh in on bike laws

The Philadelphia Daily News: Kimberly Garrison: Readers weigh in on bike laws

By Kimberly Garrison
Philadelphia Daily News
Daily News Personal FItness Columnist

MY COLUMN last week on the death of legal assistant Andre Sneed, allegedly struck by a bicyclist in Center City, and the need for tougher bicycle laws, got readers fired up! Here are some of their thoughts on this hot-button issue:

Keep up the comedy

License plates on bikes? That is HILARIOUS! Where do you come up with this stuff? I loved the way you used satire to make the point that the government tends to overreact to isolated tragedies by going way overboard! So funny! Keep up the great comedy!

- Bill

No respect for cyclists

I agree with you on the responsibility and accountability that cyclists need to carry. I live in the suburbs, commute to work via bike and log on average 120 miles a week of cycling. That being said, I find the caveat with cyclists is, we don’t fit in!

We annoy cars and pedestrians alike - we are the Rodney Dangerfield of transportation. We do need to get bikes off the sidewalks; the problem is in the lack of respect some automobiles show for cyclists, or the lack of a safe riding area.

Pennsylvania is looking to pass the 4-foot-clearance law (cars must allow 4 feet of clearance when passing a bike). I think it’s the start of a solution. As you stated, bikes belong on the road. I agree, but the road needs to be made safer for them. Designated bike lanes, education courses and common sense could go a long way in making everyone involved safer.

- Jeff Mann

Share the road

I cannot agree with you more. I enjoy riding my bike for pleasure, but many others need this means of transportation for work or other daily necessities. As you stated, they need to follow the same rules they want enforced on other vehicles.

- Jeff Crossan

Irresponsible pedestrians!

As a cyclist, I think you, and most others, are missing the real story: irresponsible pedestrians who cross the street only looking for cars, expecting us to go around them. They block our lanes, wear dark clothing at night, step into streets mid-street and not corners, and otherwise inconvenience cyclists.

Why you should always have the right of way? If you step in front of me and I have a green, you’d better hope I can go around you safely.

I’m all for ticketing cyclists on sidewalks, but I’m also all for ticketing pedestrians standing in my lane. I’m also sick and tired of people complaining about us going through stop signs and lights. So do pedestrians! There is NO risk in me stopping at a light, checking traffic and crossing.

- Aaron Olk

From the heart

I am a former owner of a New York City bike shop and a spokesman for the Coalition Against Rogue Riding. We are pro-responsible cycling. CARR advocates evenhanded enforcement of vehicular laws to promote a responsible bike culture and address the problem of rogue riding, which undermines public safety and shreds peace of mind. CARR is working toward having a task force sit down and develop a master plan to address these issues.

If there is a way that Philadelphia bicycle advocates can collaborate with CARR, we are ready, willing and able.

- Jack Brown

Don’t crucify cyclists!

You suggest that bicyclists should have mandatory insurance and license plates. Does that mean your children will be required to have the same? Will you be responsible, legally, if your child gets into a bike accident? Will you be surprised if a playmate falls off your child’s bike and his/her mother sues you? Are you prepared to carry insurance for all of your family members and to obtain: helmets, license plates, registrations, mandatory yearly bicycle inspections, safety classes and possible a bicycle license?

I enjoy riding a bicycle, and assume you do also. These changes you propose would take all of the enjoyment out of riding.

- Kevin G.