Byko vs. the Bikes: It’s On!

Columnist Stu Bykofsky thinks Philly bicyclists are annoying. Yesterday, the bicyclists got their revenge By Claire Salmons

Over the last several months, Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky’s taken more than a few shots at the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition’s efforts to make the city a more “bike-friendly” place. For example, he’s written this: “I like bicycles. It’s bicyclists I hate.” (September 24, 2009). And this: “Turning over more lanes to bikes—fair-weather friends—will create year-round, undreamed-of traffic snarls. Is the city plan intended to punish drivers into abandoning their cars?” (May 24, 2010)

The Coalition fired back yesterday morning, sending a mass e-mail requesting donations in Bykofsky’s name (subject line: “Send Stu a Message: Support Bike Lanes and Bicycle Education in His Name!”) to more than 5,000 die-hard bicyclists. The campaign’s also being pushed on Facebook, Twitter, and the Coalition’s website. [SIGNUP]

“It’s really a way to excite our membership and energize our base,” says John Boyle, the Coalition’s advocacy director. “Stu has been a hot-button issue not only with us but with our members. We’ve gotten a lot of reaction from him and it was just a fun way to get people to give to the Bicycle Coalition so we can strengthen our argument for better bike facilities.”

A friend, of course, forwarded the e-mail to Bykofsky, who acknowledges his opponent’s move: “I will give them credit for using an ingenious tactic. What am I suppose to tell my supporters? Don’t contribute? It’s brilliant!”

The Bicycle Coalition is aware that Bykofsky won’t go away. “I don’t think it will change anything,” says Boyle. “Nothing we have argued will change his mind. I’m sure he will continue to campaign against bicycling in the city.” He’s probably right.

Bykofsky told the Philly Post he plans to run his response to the campaign in his Thursday column, which we’re assuming will not include a pledge to donate. “I don’t have a problem with the Bicycle Coalition,” he protests. “I think they think I’m picking on them. I’m not. I have a disagreement with their desire to impose hundreds of miles of bike-only lanes in Philadelphia. I just don’t think that it’s good for the city. I see gridlock as a result of it.”