As consideration for
bicyclists expands across the city, a missing link resonates.
In the past few years, Philadelphia’s bicycling population has not just blossomed – it’s boomed. But as far as accommodations and enforcement of traffic laws for bicyclists go, the city is lagging far behind.
Campus Safety Services has offered free bike locks for students who register their wheels in the past, which hopefully they can continue, and Temple’s cycling club has opened a bike truck at the heart of Main Campus. Now, Temple hopes to pave bike lanes from Main Campus’ North Broad Street to TUCC, at 15th and Market streets.
The city has also been planning to add bike-only lanes to Spruce and Pine streets in Center City, to be completed sometime this month, working toward a more bicycle-friendly Philadelphia.
But there should be a fair tradeoff. If the university and the city are going to accommodate bicyclists, then bicyclists should accommodate those they share the road with when it comes to following traffic laws.
In Philadelphia, cyclists often get in the way of moving vehicles. Frustrated drivers become aggressive, blowing horns at cyclists, screaming and occasionally even hitting them.
There’s no doubt that some mutual disrespect is going on between two- and four-wheel drivers, but someone needs to take responsibility. Bicyclists who are hit traveling 15 mph while cars speed down 12th Street or up 13th Street should remember they share the road. Some bicyclists maintain a holier-than-thou attitude, purposefully disobeying traffic laws when they are part of traffic themselves.
Bicyclists have the right to bike lanes on as many Philadelphia roads as possible. But they do not have the right to disobey traffic laws just because they aren’t in a motor vehicle.
If Temple plans to make its campus more bike-friendly and the city hopes to make its own streets more accommodating to cyclists, something has to give on the bikers’ end too. Bicyclists can have their lanes, but they should also adhere to traffic laws. It’s not just common courtesy – it can become a matter of life or death.