Pittsburgh Asks Cyclists, Drivers and Pedestrians to Play Nice Together

Looking at public commentary following a spate of recent bicyclist accidents and incidents, Annie Siebert considers some of issues that Pittsburghers face as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road.

November 23, 2012, 7:00 AM PST

By Erica Gutiérrez


The death and injury of several cyclists in Pittsburgh over the past several months have spurred an outpouring of commentary from citizens on websites, in editorial sections of newspapers and in social media. According to Siebert, "Some of [the] comments make it sound as though the world contains only two kinds of people: bicyclists and drivers." Drivers criticized cyclists for negligent activities on the road and vice versa.

Yet, as Siebert points out, "more often than not, cyclists are also drivers." Based on a survey that Bike Pittsburgh sent out to its 1,700 members, 90 percent of respondents said they own and drive vehicles. "The whole idea that it's us versus them is completely unfounded," said Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, "We're multi-modal people."

So how can the city help to encourage greater respect and understanding between these groups? Law enforcement, infrastructure enhancement, and educational programs are just some of the avenues being pursued.

Stephen Patchan, Pittsburgh's bike-pedestrian coordinator asserts "that cycling in the city is still a relatively new thing, and as more people ride bikes and bicycling becomes a mainstream transportation choice, cyclists will see less tension, frustration and anger from some motorists." He also adds, "I'm not convinced that the comments section in news outlets reflect the majority of drivers' opinions."

Thursday, November 15, 2012 in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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