September 23rd, 2010. Marple Township, Pennsylvania. Starting on Wednesday, September 29th motorists will see a new sign on West Chester Pike (Route 3) at the Northbound on-ramp to 476. The sign "BICYCLISTS MAY USE FULL LANE" will be handheld by an enthusiastic coalition of bicycle commuters and representatives of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to promote awareness of cyclists riding along West Chester Pike.
More and more people regularly bicycle along the Pike which is the main and only bikeable artery from points west in Delaware County into and out of the City of Philadelphia. The 476 ramps are a particularly dangerous spot for cyclists. On July 15, 2010, a Haverford College professor was killed while riding to work when he was hit from behind at the entrance to the northbound ramp heading west. He was wearing a helmet. News reports of the incident characterized the driver as "distracted".
Distracted driving is a national epidemic. Many motorists multi-task by talking on the phone, texting or eating. With divided attention, they fail to recognize that they have the capacity to seriously hurt or kill others. When the matchup involves a car and a cyclist, the cyclist is likely doomed.
People cycle for a variety of reasons such as environmental, economic and exercise, and have a right to utilize roads such as West Chester Pike safely. The aim of Wednesday's Bike the Pike campaign is to encourage awareness, consideration and safer driving habits by motorists when encountering cyclists.
Bicyclists will hold signs alerting motorists that bicyclists have full use of the lane. "Motorists need to realize that bicyclists have a right to Bike the Pike and that they should be aware of bicyclists using the travel lanes" said Anne Spiegelman, a regular Pike commuter and Bicycle Coalition member. "The crash on July 15th that killed the Haverford professor would not have happened if the motorist had been more careful and aware of bicyclists using the road."
The Bicycle Coalition sent a letter on September 21st, calling upon Pennsylvania DOT, the Marple Township and Delaware County officials to take measures on West Chester Pike to improve safety. "We want PennDOT to do everything possible to increase motorists' awareness that bicyclists are using the roadway and make West Chester Pike safer for bicyclists," said David Bennett, Chair of the Delaware County Cycling Committee of the Bicycle Coalition. "PennDOT can and must put in pavement markings and signs that will help improve awareness."
Bike the Pike Campaign Details for Media
What: Bike the Pike Campaign
Where: Westbound West Chester Pike at corner of Lawrence Road
When: Wednesday, September 29th 7-9am,
Wednesday evening, Sept 29 4-5:45pm
Thursday morning, Sept 30 7-9 am
Thursday evening, Sept 30 4-5:45 pm
Photo Opportunity: Bicyclists will be holding up safety signs to make motorists aware of bicyclists
Contact: David Bennett, cell phone: Cell # (610) 585-0875, Land Line (610) 626-1344