Sharing is caring - for cyclists, drivers on city streets

Posted: December 07, 2012

THINKING ABOUT parking your car in that bike lane? Don't do it. It'll cost you.

City Council approved the "Complete Streets" bill Thursday that makes a series of changes to the traffic code for bicyclists and motorists, stressing consideration for all who share the road.

For drivers, violations include parking a vehicle in a bike lane and opening a car door against oncoming traffic, a potential hazard to cyclists.

For bikers, violations include running a redlight, riding on the sidewalk, or parking a bike in the street (unless it's against the curb or in a designated parking space.) Violations for bikers and drivers are $75.

The bill's sponsor, Councilman Mark Squilla, said the measure will help "attract new, younger people to the city" and "it's good for us to grow."

It's a "bill that is going to make a difference for all users of our streets," said Alex Doty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Council also voted to amend a bill that would expand the city's ban and increase penalties on skateboarding, biking and rollerblading to apply to public property including around the Municipal Services Building, City Hall and LOVE Park. Council could approve the bill next week.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman David Oh on behalf of the Nutter administration, was tabled in October after a group of skateboarders raised concerns about the penalties and lack of clarity. Violators could face a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell urged her colleagues not to support it. "It's unconscionable, unbelievable and it's not the business of this Council," said Blackwell, who feels the penalties are too harsh. "It sends the wrong message to people who visit this city."

The city has said skaters and the like have caused costly damage to memorials and public artwork.

* In other news: Councilman Bill Greenlee introduced a bill on behalf of the Nutter administration that would attempt to regulate privately owned horses. "In residential areas, horses can be a problem both with noise and odor," Greenlee said. "There was really no regulation on horses in the city."

The bill would require anyone who keeps a horse for more than 30 days to get a license for it. Each horse must have at least a quarter of an acre of outdoor space, adequate food and water. Violators would be subject to a $300 fine.


On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom

Blog: PhillyClout.com

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