If Mayor Nutter really succeeds in making Philly a mecca for bicyclists, there just might not be anywhere to walk safely on the city's sidewalks.
That's because cyclists often prefer the pavements - for safety - to riding on the street.
It happens to be illegal, but nobody takes much notice. Why? Because enforcement of the minimal fine is almost nonexistent. As Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky reminds his readers on a regular basis, for all the talk of a crackdown by the Police Department, there are few tickets issued.
A month or so ago, Stu reported:
In the first quarter of this year, the number of tickets written to bicyclists was four - a great, big, fat F-O-U-R, according to stats provided by Traffic Court deputy administrator Robert De Emilio. During the first quarter last year, six tickets were written.
What's not reflected in those discouraging statistics, either, is the fact that far too many cyclists ride the pavements with little apparent concern for the safety of pedestrians. Seen them zig-zag in an out of lines of people on foot? How about when one approaches you at high speed from behind, missing you by, say, all of six inches?
It's pretty clear that nothing is going to change until somebody in City Hall starts taking the issue seriously. Might be too much to expect in a big city - at least, one where the public spaces really aren't that much under government control.
In the meantime, here's a suggestion for harried pedestrians: Pull out your camera cell phones, and snap away at illegal bike riders. Send in a jpg to:
We'll post some of the more outrageous examples of scofflaw cycling.