New Website Spells Out Philly's Bike Rules

A new website from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia aims to clarify the rules of the road for both bicyclists and motorists.

"We hear a lot of stories [from drivers] about bicyclists who are supposed to be in a bike lane,” said Nicholas Mirra, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia spokesman. 

"We want to demystify bicycling for as many people as possible,” he added. “Most bicyclists are drivers, most drivers are bicyclists, so the information on how bicyclists can use our streets safely and legally is useful to everybody.”

The organization spent about nine months redesigning its site, including adding a glossary on signs and symbols, to explain that the white bikes painted on the edges of city streets might mean the road has a lane dedicated exclusively to the two-wheeled travelers or it might not.

One marking that causes confusion is the sharrow – a white bike with two carets above it.

“Those symbols are just a visual reminder that bicyclists are frequently on that road,” Mirra explained. “They do not imply that bicyclists need to be in the lane with the sharrow.”

At least one driving group is a fan of the revamped site, which also includes tips on how to handle a crash or report damaged roadways.

"Because there are so many different kinds of markings, it can be confusing for the motorist,” said Jenny Robinson, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman. “But the important this is we all follow guidelines.”

While the information benefits drivers and bicyclists alike, Mirra says overhauling the nonprofit’s online presence was needed so it could truly serve as a resource to the biking community.

“Our old website was not the most intuitive place to hang out,” Mirra said. “The information we supplied to the public was frequently delivered via direct request – people would ask us questions via social media or email, and we’d write back.”

The old site will remain live so previous blog posts can be accessed, although Mirra encourages the public to explore the new site.

“Now we have an intuitive, clean, updated hub for information about both our programs and bicycling in our region generally.”

Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, or follow @NewsBurd on Twitter.

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