Philadelphia bicyclists willing to brave winter weather are increasingly finding themselves faced with a dangerous hazard after snowstorms: bike lanes that have not been plowed. While motorist lanes receive prompt attention from plows, bicyclists have found that bike lanes all over the city are frequently left untouched or only partially cleared.
As Philly.com reports, the Philadelphia's bicycling community was left in a precarious position due to bike lane blockages following Winter Storm Jonas last month. The neglected bike lanes force cyclists to merge with motorists—many of whom are struggling with the winter weather themselves.
"It's a legit problem," said Lee Rogers, owner of Bicycle Therapy. "It's hard enough to get around with motorists who are in a hurry." Heather Deronck, who bikes to her South Philly shop, agreed, saying that motorists tend to drive even more recklessly and selfishly when dealing with snowy and icy streets.
Despite the outcry, city officials maintain that everything that can swiftly restore road safety following a storm is being. "Our goals are to clear the roadway for all travelers," City Streets Department spokeswoman June Cantor told reporters. "There could be issues with vehicle parking that may impede how close we can plow the snow to the curb, but it is our desire to be as close to the curb line as possible on all city streets."
Even spokesman for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Randy LoBasso seemed to indicate that there isn't much to be done. "I wish I had a magic wand to stop it," he remarked. "But the best we can do is to educate drivers to let them know bikers can [share] the lane." Executive Director of the Bicycle Access Council Joe Stafford also supported the idea that bicyclists need to use the space that they have, even if it means sharing a lane with motor vehicles.
According to PPD spokesman Lt. John Stanford, there had not been a reported increase in bicycle accidents following Winter Storm Jonas. As Lee Rogers told Philly.com, however, if the city isn't going to improve plowing practices this winter, then keeping bike lanes clear may be left in the hands of city residents with shovels.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a serious bicycle accident, we invite you to contact us at Piscitello Law today. Attorney Piscitello is an experienced and sought-after bicycle accident lawyer who has helped thousands of clients who have been harmed by other people's negligence. An avid bicyclist himself, he is well aware of bicyclist rights and how to compellingly put forth motorist negligence in the pursuit of maximum compensation for his clients.
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