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 Press Releasefrom Philadelphia Councilwoman-at-Large Happy Fernandez
[with notes by Messengerville] 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:      Thursday,February 27, 1997

Bicyclists and Pedestrians Benefit from Bills Introduced by Fernandez[However if you’re looking for evidence of these so called benefitsyou won’t find them in this press release-M]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Councilwoman-at-Large Happy Fernandez,in her ongoing efforts to enhance pedestrian safety, has introduced twobills which will make our streets safer for pedestrians by improving thebicycling environment in the City. 

[M - a pedestrian has never been killed by a cyclist in Philadelphiabut motor vehicles kill about 50 pedestrians every year. If Fernandez’sconcern  for pedestrian safety was sincere then why not address realthreats to safety rather than perceived threats. Why is Fernandez not afraidof motorists?]

A bill introduced on February 20th, will open up the Chestnut StreetTransitway to bicycle traffic. Bicycles had been prohibited from usingChestnut Street, which forced many bike riders to use City streets thatare jammed with automobiles and pedestrians. "Until the City's bike planis fully implemented, allowing bicycles on Chestnut Street is one way toprovide a safer environment in which to travel through Center City by bike,"explained Fernandez. 

[M – again the threat to safety is right in front of Fernandez buther bias keeps her from seeing it. She says “city streets are jammed withautomobiles.” A reduction in the number of cars on the City’s streets wouldcreate more space for all road users thereby increasing pedestrian safety.]

In a related bill introduced today, bike couriers and delivery serviceproviders will be required to wear identification so that riders who ignorebasic traffic laws can be easily identified by police officers and citizens.By law, bicyclists are to abide by the rules of the road established bythe Pennsylvania motor vehicle code, which includes the stipulation thatall bicycles must stay off the sidewalks, unless the rider is under theage of 12. One of the most common complaints of pedestrians is that theyare afraid of getting hit by bicycles that ride on the sidewalks. 

[The “most common complaint” is not about actual behaviour it’s aboutthe threat of a behaviour.]

"Through education and enforcement, our City streets will become saferfor pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists," said Councilwoman Fernandez. 

[M - Fernandez’s bill does nothing to address education or enforcement.Laws that could be enforced already exist and no education will be providedas a result of her bill. All this bill does is create more bureacracy andgive police a tool to harass both cyclists and couriers. And Fernandezgrants motorists free reign to continue killing 50 pedestrians every year.]

More info from Fernandez’s Office on Bill No. 970138:

Amended the Philadelphia Code by adding a new Section entitled, "BicycleCouriers and Bicycle Delivery Service," to impose certain requirementson bicycle couriers and providers of bicycle delivery services, includingcertain identification, training and record keeping requirements. Commercialbicycle delivery couriers are now required to carry and wear easily identifiableidentification. In addition, bike operators must learn the rules of theroad and abide by basic traffic laws. [M - but they had to abide bytraffic laws before this bill] 

This bill was signed into law by the Mayor on 5/9/97.

[M - as is typical of all these licensing ordinances,legislatorsbrag of the training requirement. Yet  “training” consists of bicycle couriers signing a statement that they understand and will abideby all traffic laws.]

What Fernandez really means:

Amended the Philadelphia Code by adding a new Section entitled, "BicycleCouriers and Bicycle Delivery Service," to impose more bureacracy uponPhiladelphia residents at taxpayer expense. Although this amendment doesnothing for safety it does give police an added weapon to harass thosepesky bike couriers who don’t follow the unwritten dress code in Ms Feranadez’smind. It also serves the special interests of the automobile industry,as pressure and harassment of cyclists and couriers may prevent othersfrom participating in any mode of transportation that demonstrates anysuperiority over the automobile.


You can obtain copies of all City Council bills and City of Philadelphiaordinances from the Chief Clerk's Office, City Hall, Room 402. Contactthe Chief Clerk's Office at (215) 686-3410 for more information. 

Note: Happy is not so Happy these days. Her recent attempt at a runfor the Mayor’s office in Philadelphia ended very early because of a lackof support.

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