Maybe Philly Drivers and Bicyclists Actually Like Fighting With Each Other


A few weeks ago, after tipping back a few too many beers, a friend of mine opened up about his girlfriend and their loving but altogether contentious long-term relationship. The one constant? Non-stop arguing over topics big and small (mostly small). Though they’re rarely super-serious, purée-each-other’s-emotions heavyweight bouts, the scraps are consistent enough to merit front-and-center billing on the cute, weird Pinterest board that is their romantic life.

Talking, and drinking, about it helped him come to a realization.

“Dude,” he said, eyes bugging in terror like he’d just spotted the crest of Godzilla’s head rising from the bay. “I think she actually likes fighting.”

This got me thinking about two local groups whom I’ve long suspected secretly get kicks out of battling each other: Philadelphia’s motorists and Philadelphia’s bicyclists. Now that the weather’s finally broken, plenty of locals are pumping their tires and greasing their chains in preparation for three full seasons of city biking. And just as quickly as the bipedal crowd has emerged from the freeze, so too have the bad attitudes. Bikers screaming at drivers! Drivers screaming at bikers! Pedestrians screaming at both of them! Quick, everyone — corner the urbanite closest to you and tell them how much they fucking suck!

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Would Philly Drivers Stand for a 20 MPH Speed Limit in the City?

Jon Geeting, who we last saw writing about ‘sneckdowns’ on East Passyunk Avenue, recently posted the harrowing map above: All of the city’s pedestrian-related crashes from 2008 to 2012. During this five-year span, there were 9,051 in Philadelphia — and that’s just ones that are reported. (Once, at 16th and JFK, I saw a woman get hit by a car, bounce off the hood and continue down the street. I caught up to her to see if she was okay and tell her she was a badass.)

On his site, Geeting also posts a map of the pedestrian deaths over that five year span; there were 158 city wide with 16 in Center City — even though downtown had the most crashes. This speaks to my badass pedestrian example: She could keep walking because cars can’t travel as fast in Center City. But get hit on Roosevelt Boulevard and you’re less likely to survive.

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Can Speed Cameras Fix Philly’s Death-Trap Road?

There must have been nine of us in the two-door sedan, and we were driving on the Boulevard.

I don’t really think anything happened to us — we were teenagers, and we were mostly skinny — and my friend Joe had a plan if the cops pulled us over: “Just say we’re headed to the circus and sing that song!” (That would be Entry of the Gladiators.”) If I remember correctly, though, this story had a happy ending: We turned off the Boulevard to drop someone off, and very slowly dwindled in numbers on our way home. But the point remains: We were nine teenagers in a car designed for at most five people, driving haphazardly on Roosevelt Boulevard.

Growing up a couple miles from it, I rode in cars a lot on the Boulevard as a teenager. I drove almost as often, heading to the enormous Tower Records north of Welsh Road, to a friend’s house in Oxford Circle, to Charlie’s Pizza, to nowhere in particular. I was (am) not a very good driver. I never got into an accident on the Boulevard, but there are thousands like me. Clearly some of them are a little more reckless or a little less lucky, and they crash. Or they hit someone attempting to cross the street. The Boulevard is an incredibly useful road that opened up the Northeast; it’s also one of its most dangerous.

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I’m Not a Bad Driver. I Just Don’t Drive the Same Way You Do.


America: What a country. A wonderful melting pot of races, ethnicities, religions, genders. More and more each day, it seems, we discover new differences between ourselves to treasure, write books about, and study as college electives. Acronyms abound! Hyphenation heightens! The more disparate we grow, the greater we become. We honor one another’s holidays, traditions, foods, clothing choices, musical styles. Only in this one arena do we all, each and every one of us, expect uniformity:

We want everyone else to drive exactly the way we do.

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Your Average Commute Is Delayed 22% by Traffic Congestion

TomTom, the GPS that you used before iPhones turned into miniature Inspector Gadgets and did everything for you, puts out traffic congestion rankings, and its latest one suggests Philadelphia is not as bad as you’re always complaining it is. Among major cities TomTom surveyed in the US, Canada, and Brazil, Philadelphia ranks 24th of 61. The percentage of your commute time delayed by congestion is 22%.

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