Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lots of sleep but no rest...

crossing the Atlantic Ocean

It seems rather premature to say that my stop-over in Philadelphia is over but, well, it is. As of tomorrow I stow my truck, pack my bags, and then to and sit in an airport for about 20 hours waiting for my plane to the UK.

As Noe and I were driving up the eastern coast of the US we had our ears and eyes on a brewing problem here in Philadelphia; that of the vicious split on the roads between cyclists and motorists ushered on by two unsolved bicycle/pedestrian hit-and-runs that resulted in the death of two people.

As a former Philadelphia messenger I knew first hand that the police generally favor automobiles and pedestrians when there is an encounter with a bicycle, and frequently cyclists are vilified and fucked with simply for not bending to the whims of people driving gigantic steel boxes with four wheels that can cause huge, if not catastrophic problems when they connect directly with bicycles.

It is a fucked up mess that is resulting in radical legislation toward cyclists in the name of safety, but with more than a hint of anti-messenger glits and glam attached. Two unsolved hit-and-runs, two deaths, and ALL OF PHILADELPHIA CYCLISTS ARE TO BLAME..? That is highly doubtful, but that is what is happening.

What is worse is that in this messy local political landscape is that a friend, and former coworker, suffered at the hands of both a vicious motorist and a frothing-anti-cyclist police force. After being run off the road by a car my friend was pushed onto the sidewalk and fliped over her bars. She landed on her face and was messed up pretty badly. Once the cops arrived they apparently refused to write it up as an aggressive hit-and-run, and blamed her accident not on the driver but on her flipping over her bars. For FUCKS SAKE, flipping over bars is generally something that doesn't happen to a well traveled cyclist, but for some reason the cops just generally gave her a piece of what the city has been serving up for years; a taste of "I don't give a fuck about you. You are on your own."

So, as I prepare to go overseas I am hoping that the PBMA (Philadelaphia Bike Messengers Association) along with the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition push for legislation that protect cyclists instead of vilifies them. I don't know. I felt helpless the whole time, like there was nothing that I could do. So, I guess that the best that I can do is put it out there to you. Check into the recent incidents here in Philly and judge for yourself if this city is really trying to go green or if it is just talking cheap talk. Let's face it, bicycles are fucking green. Cars are not. Do the math.

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