COLUMNIST Stu Bykofsky unequivocally believes bikes "will never become a significant alternative to private cars," and thus opposes plans to expand the number of bike lanes in Philadelphia.

Mr. Bykofsky should try traveling outside Philadelphia before making such bold predictions. In cities all over the world, bikes are a major mode of transportation. In Amsterdam, for instance, more trips are taken by bike than car.

And Amsterdam is a lot like Philadelphia: same population density, similar narrow historic streets and a large fleet of buses and trams. Bikes, cars, trams and buses all get along so well in Amsterdam because the city has a large network of bike lanes that include traffic signals specifically for cyclists.

Seth Levi, Philadelphia

I'm a 63-year-old who tries to walk at least two miles a day. And, nearly every day, I have a near-miss with bicyclists on the sidewalk, sometimes right under the noses of police. It's especially bad on South Broad between Snyder and Locust.

These illegal riders protect themselves with helmets but have no regard for the safety of pedestrians who will soon need body armor.

The situation has become worse since the installation of curb cuts, which were supposed to be for wheelchairs and handicapped scooters.

The most frustrating part? There are laws against this behavior, but they're never enforced. Please keep writing about this issue, it's a real public-safety problem.

Paul L. Coppola, Philadelphia

I bicycle 15-plus miles each way, three to four days a week, nine months of the year, to work on Independence Mall. The skinny lanes, which are everywhere, are terrific. I have no problem getting anywhere in a safe fashion. I don't need a Market Street lane to get across town.

The fact is, bikes don't belong on sidewalks, bicyclists need to obey laws, and there should be enforcement. The anti-car bike zealots (I suppose at 4,000- plus miles a year, I'm zealous - just not anti-car) are blinded by their agenda.

Chestnut has a bike/taxi/bus lane - I have no problems riding on it. We do not need a whole lane. We need smart riders and some skinny lanes.

The biggest problems with driver-cyclist interaction is due to driver ignorance that cyclists belong on the road and reckless cyclists who don't obey the law. In areas where drivers see bikes often, the interaction is quite smooth. I've never had someone honk or give me a hard time in Manayunk, for example. If cyclists ride where they belong, drivers will get more accustomed to their presence and things will be smoother.

As a cyclist, I resent the bad name these zealots give me. These folks wish to control the 98.6 percent of people who don't cycle and slow their commutes. Also, if the environment is such a huge concern, why shut down whole lanes, increase gridlock, increase idling cars and emissions?

Stu, thanks for speaking out and taking the heat on this issue.

William E. Remphrey Jr., Rosemont

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Beatle it, Paul

So Paul McCartney is thrilled that President Obama knows what a library is. Too bad the only book he checked out is "Alinsky's Rules for Radicals." Stay in your own country, Mr. McCartney. Your opinion means nothing here.

Patricia Dougherty, Philadelphia