The takeout was written by Patrick Kerkstra, who said, "If it seems like there's a conspiracy to get people out of their cars, that's exactly what's going on."
From my column of May 24, 2010: "Is the city plan intended to push drivers into abandoning their cars?"
I am not accusing Kerkstra of copying. He probably examined the evidence and reached the same conclusion. Kerkstra added, "The Nutter administration is painting bicycle lanes on every horizontal surface it can find."
An exaggeration, but it was the first time any other publication commented on the pro-bike orthodoxy. On Friday, Inquirer columnist Inga Saffron (an avid bike rider), in writing about the new city zoning code, chimed in: "It favors density and transit while discouraging parking." This despite the city's claim that mushrooming two-hour parking limits creates more spaces. Maybe I'm not so crazy.
The pro-bike Philadelphia Weekly actually allowed comments in letters about the bad behavior of some bikeheads and warned pedalphiles that enforcement is coming. The city promised, but did it deliver?
As part of my continuing public service, I look at the data and report to you.
In the past, in addition to the number of tickets handed to bicyclists, I reported violations by bad motorists and pedestrians. I now am adding restaurants that violate the City Code by usurping too much of the sidewalk, a problem that declines with the onset of cold weather.
Let's start there. In 2010, the Streets Department (charged with enforcement) issued 17 violations, says Deputy Commissioner David Perri. In 2011, 90 tickets were written, but this year, a terrible falloff - only 35 as of Oct. 10. Perri promises better enforcement next year, and I believe him.
Sidewalk cafés are a bonus if they play by the rules, allowing easy passage for pedestrians, for whom the sidewalks were designed.
Back to bikes.
In the first six months of 2012, police wrote 80,738 tickets for motorists, 162 for pedestrians and a measly 45 for bicyclists. For every bikehead whom cops write up, they ticket 1,794 drivers. Four times more pedestrians are ticketed than bicyclists, but riders whine about being persecuted. It isn't true.
For the first six months of 2011, motorists got 84,239 tickets, slightly more than this year. In the same period, 205 pedestrians and 28 bicyclists were ticketed. So the number of pedestrians ticketed is going down, while cyclists is going up, from 28 last year to 45 this year.
Earlier this year, police announced they would be - ta-da - enforcing the law. Under Pennsylvania law, bicycles are vehicles, meaning that riders must obey the same rules as drivers. That includes the Big Four: stopping at red lights, full stop at stop signs, riding with the flow of traffic, no riding on sidewalks.
Perhaps one bicyclist in 100 stops for red lights (when not forced to by traffic), and you can't walk on Broad Street sidewalks in Center City without dodging speeding bikeheads.
The problem continues, but it appears that the city (police) is making some effort to enforce the law.
When better enforcement leads to better behavior, this will be a better city for everyone.
Contact Stu Bykofsky at email@example.com or 215-854-5977. Join Stu on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @StuBykofsky. For recent columns, go to philly.com/Byko.