City Plans to Put the Squeeze on South Philly Cyclists

Cyclists in South Philly may soon be forced to abandon their “bike-however-you-please ways,” warns the 3rd Police District in South Philadelphia. reports that the police district plans to give warnings to bikers who commit infractions until Labor Day, and, after that, they will begin citing bikers who do not abide by the law.

The announcement is the latest development in the ongoing effort to create safer roads around the city. Last year, Mayor Nuttter spearheaded the initiative with his campaign “Give Respect-Get Respect.” Made effective from May to October of 2011 in Center City, the campaign documented “citations to 26 cyclists and 161 motorists, and warnings to 1,142 cyclists, 244 motorists and seven pedestrians.”

Funded by PennDOT, South Philly’s campaign is set on enforcing bike laws more rigorously in an area with “one of the highest bike-to-work” populations in the city. Although he notices a gradual improvement in biking manners throughout the city, Executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Alex Doty stated, “I’m not sure how much is because of the city’s getting its message out there and how much is because more people who bike fit a less-aggressive profile.”

So take this as a heads up: next time you’re biking home from Cantina and you blow through that stop sign, a cop may actually bother to give you a ticket.

Source: | Photo: K_Gradinger via Flickr)

Olga Hajishengallis

A Penn State undergrad, Olga can be found marveling at antique stores wherever she can find one. When she is not doing that, she occupies her time by admiring international tennis players on TV, talking to her twin sister in Greeklish about all things psychology or scanning news and entertainment sites at least once every waking hour.

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  • bh

    What is the law?  If there is no bike lane, are bikers legally allowed to ride beside cars or must they stay behind?

  • KGL

    If there is no bike lane cyclists can either ride on the right side of the road if there is space to share it with cars, otherwise they are legally entitled to take up the lane, the same as any other vehicle (that is my understanding of it). I’m not sure what you mean by “stay behind”, maybe you mean are they allowed to overtake vehicles going slower by them by riding past alongside. That I’m not sure about probably has a lot to do with the size of the lane, but if its safe to do so why not, other than that it might enrage motorists into doing something stupid, in any case that situation only happens when vehicles are going quite slowly, or in fact stopped. I’ll add that just because something annoys you shouldn’t mean its illegal, otherwise I don’t think anyone in the city would be allowed to do anything.

    Speaking personally once you get used to sharing the space with motorists, it is for the most part safe to do it unless you end up on the city’s narrower streets, a lot of the time i’d give motorists space to pass me simply because I wouldn’t want to slow down the speed of traffic, however you do encounter drivers who are uncomfortable with passing cyclists despite having the space, I imagine its because they are unsure of the profile of their vehicle on the road.

  • Precious Morrison

    Why only South Philly? University City is full of cyclist. As a motorist I have no problem sharing the road. What I don’t like is when they ride through lights and stop signs. They turn from the right or left to the opposite side of the road without signaling. The ones who ride at night in dark clothing with no lighting on their bikes. Most are good about staying in the bike lanes. If there is no bike lane there is no problem with then riding beside your car. You can legally go around or pass them when you have room to do so. I’m not comfortable wth them riding in front of my car because I have to stay at least 4 feet from them which seems to aggravate motorist who may be behind me.

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