The Philadelphia Bike Messenger Association (PBMA) would like to declare our stance on new cycling legislation proposed by Councilmen DiCicco and Kenney and respond to the rise of an anti-cycling climate in our city.
We do not oppose the enforcement of existing laws regarding bicycle riding, but believe that equal and consistent enforcement amongst cyclists, pedestrians and motorists is key. Consistent enforcement of traffic violations would improve the lives of everyone in this city no matter what their mode of travel might be. It is our membership’s consensus that the proposed laws put forth by Councilman DiCicco and Councilman Kenney would be specifically harmful to bicycle messengers.
No working bike messenger in this city could afford a $1,000 fine or possible confiscation of a work bike deemed “brakeless” according to the proposed laws. The PBMA does not think that a registration program is feasible in a city under so much budget distress and would rather see resources allocated to better causes.
The idea that Philadelphia bike messengers are dangerous is an unfortunate perception amongst motorists and pedestrians. We are often mistaken for dangerous cyclists, as people believe that anyone with a bag and a bike is working as a bicycle messenger. Hazardous cycling makes a professional messenger as concerned as any motorist alongside of them in traffic. It is also apparent to our membership that anti-cycling sentiment continues to grow rapidly in Philadelphia.
Recently a co-worker was intentionally targeted by an angry motorist and was the victim of a hit and run. Aggression from motorists in the form of verbal threats or their leaving the scene of an accident is commonplace in our workday and sadly increasing in frequency for other city cyclists as well. It is our hope that we can change the views of the public and see Philadelphia become the bicycling friendly city it can be.
In the coming months the PBMA will work towards improving our working conditions that not only benefit us but other city cyclists, pedestrians and motorists in Philadelphia.