Safety

13May
How is only *Idaho* getting this right?

There's not much to agree with in this confused Stu Bykofsky rant against The Bike Menace, but the Daily News's resident curmudgeon does make a good point about Pennsylvania's outmoded traffic laws:

I have never seen a bicyclist come to a complete, full stop at a stop sign. (Hell, many cars don’t come to a complete, full stop.)

The overwhelming number of bicyclists do not stop at red lights unless there is cross traffic that prevents them from “jay riding.” A tiny minority obey the stop-light law. They deserve praise.

Most bicyclists say they shouldn’t have to stop at a red light. They have all kinds of excuses, but the simple fact is this: Bikes are “vehicles” under Pennsylvania law and have to obey the same rules as cars, for everyone’s safety. Almost none do.

Byko thinks the policy takeaway from this observation should be that the city should enforce these traffic laws harder for cyclists, and make cyclists register their bikes and carry insurance. (He also thinks William Penn would lament the impact of bikes on his ideally-bikeable street grid, rather than, you know, cars.)

But the actual policy lesson here is that a law that nobody follows is a bad law, and we need a more practical way of assigning right-of-way if we want to eliminate future car collisions with cyclists. 

8May
Where traffic calming is needed most

In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that took place Tuesday night in University City, where Wharton student and new Philadelphian Zachary Woods was killed in a car crash at the intersection of 30th and Walnut, some news outlets have taken to characterizing the event as a freak accident. The Inquirer's online headline reads "Penn student dies in freak overpass fall."

The problem with this story is that there's nothing freakish about it.

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