I’m writing in regards to your recent decision to introduce legislation changing the existing Philadelphia bike laws. In light of the recent events, I can certainly understand why such a call to action seems the right thing to do. However I believe you and Councilman Kenney are overreacting with your bills and should reconsider.
As a former resident and biker of Philadelphia, I can tell you with that there is absolutely no enforcement whatsoever of the existing bike laws. None. With no reason to obey the word of law, bikers have taken great liberty to make their lives easier: Running traffic lights on the wrong side of the road, not wearing helmets, etc. This lack of law has bred a culture of bad bike behavior.
With the recent deaths of two people on account of bad biking practices, you are now set to introduce laws that will dramatically alter the landscape of the city’s culture. The combination of reactionary over-enforcement of existing laws and penalties so severe that people risk losing their bicycles can only result in unrest and discourse. I am especially concerned with the penalty of confiscated a bike without brakes. This leaves the police in effective control over a person’s possessions in a matter where they may not have expertise. While I certainly abhor the idea of riding around without brakes, the notion that an officer can simply take your bike over the perception that you don’t have them is a frightening one.
We already have an existing set of laws. Enforcing them will foster a better community. Augmenting them to the levels you threaten only serves to disenchant people from biking in the city. Philadelphia has already ostracized it’s skateboard community by treating them as though they are thugs and criminals. Let’s not do the same to bikers.
It could not have been put into better words than this. I don’t know if the city understand how much they are about to hurt such a large community in Philly.
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