The 2012 Ride of Silence – and stupid moves by Philly Bikers

by Don Barker
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Source: MarylandGIS

Philadelphia Ride of Silence – 16 May 2012

The invitation read:

8th Annual Philadelphia Ride of Silence
The Ride of Silence, happening worldwide, honors cyclists killed or injured in motor vehicle-related crashes and raises awareness of cyclists’ right to share the road. The Ride is a slow, silent 8 mile loop through Philadelphia with police escort. Helmets required, lights encouraged. No registration required; for info.

That week I had followed the bike path into the wacky traffic circle in front of the Art Museum.  Twelves lanes merge and exit from all directions.  Half the drivers are looking for the Rocky statue.  One car slows to a stop at the split between the MLK Drive and Spring Garden exits.  The driver sits there and taps away on her cellphone at the top of the steering wheel.  She didn’t hear horns blaring and didn’t see me or my bike.

So I was ready to join the Ride of Silence through the streets of Philadelphia.

No More Bike Deaths!

No More Bike Deaths!

The emcee addressed us from the Art Museum steps.  (The Rocky statue is off to the right.)  He reiterated why we were there.  Next followed a 15-minute roll call of bikers killed in traffic around Philadelphia during the past year.  Each call ended with “Driver convicted of DUI” or “No charges filed.”

I suppose we should shake our heads in silence on each count.  But I also thought of us, the bikers who survived — in spite of ourselves.
Like this:  On the way to the Ride of Silence, there was a biker riding through Logan Square — another busy and complex traffic circle — in the wrong direction at the top of rush hour.
And:  Yesterday, for the first time in 18 months of biking Philly,  I had to brake hard enough to go into a skid.   It was to avoid another biker.  He ran the stop sign at Quince St. and crossed Pine at full speed.  Almost hit me broadside. Glanced and biked on.
So, along with the biker death roll call, I offer…

Top Ten Stupid Moves by Philly Bikers

Here is what I’ve seen — and done myself too often.
10.  Assume that drivers
  • are not texting
  • see you
  • know your rights
  • give a damn
9.  Ride with iPod plugged into both ears.
8.  Ride in the wrong street direction.
7.  Cross intersections on red light – without looking both ways first.
6.  Wear black in daylight.
5.  Wear black at night.
4.  Ride with no lights at night.
3.  Program iPod while riding with no hands.
2.  Ride and text.
1.  Ride with an aggressive, assertive attitude.
Let’s get to No More Bike Deaths by getting to No More Stupid Biker Moves: