"This to make motorists more aware that bicyclists are sharing the road with them," Squilla said.
Cyclists, who are already legally "subject to all of the duties applicable to an operator" of a motor vehicle, will be prohibited from parking in a way that blocks pedestrians, and will see fines raised from $3 to $75 for non-parking violations (such as riding on sidewalks and running red lights). They'll also be allowed to ride "two abreast" as long as they don't "impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic."
A new "Complete Streets Policy" would be developed by the Streets Development, and published in a handbook. Regulations would ensure that public and private projects fully consider the rights and needs of "all users of the transportation system," including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers, giving priority attention to "the safety of children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities."
The amended version dropped some "examples" that mentioned "timing of traffic signals" and "promotion of an expanded and improved bicycle network."
"I think it would be exciting for the City of Philadelphia to have this implemented," said Squilla, a first-term Councilman who represents District 1, which stretches from South Philadelphia to Oxford Circle. "It hits city right-of-ways for all the users, including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists."
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has called the bill "a big win for Philadelphia's ability to walk and bike safely."
Not every aspect of bicycling is addressed, however.
Skipped was the idea of registering bikes, for example, a move favored by Philadelphia police to help identify violators and cases of theft, Squilla said.
Also, the bill doesn't specifically address enforcement, a bone of contention because, as Squilla acknowledges, bicyclists have recently faced only about 50 fines a year.
He calls the bill, "a good start."
"I think it's only going to grow," Squilla said of bike ridership in the city. "I don't think it's going to diminish."
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.