Biking and walking are commonplace in Philly, but ever wonder how our city stacks up next to the rest of the nation in its treatment of bicyclists and pedestrians? The Alliance for Biking and Walking recently published its third biannual report on the state of biking and walking in America, which aims to provide the most accurate data to policy makers concerning the nation's walking and biking needs. This year's data demonstrate that Philadelphia is doing its part to show some brotherly love to those who forgo fuel-powered transportation. The 51 largest cities in the nation and all 50 states were surveyed to find out who is most effectively promoting these emissions-free means of transportation.
Here are a couple of reasons to pat your fellow Philly pedestrians and bicyclists on the back:
Philadelphia has the eighth highest rate of citizens who bike or walk to work, with 1.6 percent of commuters biking and another 8.4 percent walking. Of the top ten largest cities in the nation, Philly has the largest percent of bike commuters, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Such high rates are thanks in part to the city’s extensive network of bike lanes. Philadelphia has the third highest concentration of bike lanes per square mile – another reason to be thankful for the new lanes on 13th Street.
This city knows how to get out the word. Philadelphia successfully satisfied all categories related to efforts at bike promotion and has one of the oldest bike advocacy organizations, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, founded in 1972.
All that enthusiasm is resulting in real change. Philadelphia has been progressively introducing goals and implementing policies benefiting bicyclists and pedestrians. For example, Philadelphia is one of 19 cities to have a complete streets policy, which seeks to transform streets so that they promote all modes of transportation.
Unfortunately, Philly still favors motorists in terms of traffic laws. We're one of only eight cities to not fine drivers who fail to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians. But bikers must be on the lookout for reckless drivers as Philadelphia has the ninth lowest rate of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities of cities surveyed.