Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stories of Bicycle Commuting from Mayor Nutter and Mike Dorn

DSC05445, originally uploaded by Philly Bike Coalition.

Given the high gas prices, there has been a lot of discussion lately in Philadelphia about creating new incentives for everyone to bike to work. So when Mayor Nutter takes to the road for Bike to Work Day, he of course travels with security, wearing a florescent shell and a smile.

But when Mike Dorn bikes to work at Temple University after dropping off books at the Van Pelt Library on the University of Pennsylvania campus, he has to cross the Girard Avenue bridge across the Schuylkill River. The trolley tracks that run down the center of Girard Avenue make it particularly difficult to transition safely to the left lane before turning left towards North Thirty-Third Street. With the trolleys running once again on Girard Avenue, the tracks are now smoother.

Riding across the bridge at 8:45 am of April 20, 2008, while transitioning to the left land my bike tire caught the trolley groove and threw me face forward. I caught myself with my outstretched right and left hands but still bounced my chin on the pavement. I was wearing gloves due to the coolness of the morning, but unfortunately no chin padding. Today I am still on the mend, after having eight stitches removed from my chin, but still wearing the flexible cast on my right hand.

I don't know what can be done about the trolley tracks around the city but they sure are a hazard for cyclists! I, for one, am not planning on biking from Penn to Temple again anytime soon.

I wish you all the best with your own adventures in urban mobility. By safe and have fun!


Matt said...

As a fellow disability studies faculty and bike commuter I can sympathize with your situation. I took my position at the University of Idaho a couple of years ago so I could sell my car and commute by bike. Moscow is the perfect little commuter town...only 25,000 people when school is in, which means only 15,000 people in the summer after the students clear out. Still, I was hit by a car last year and ended up with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder...thank God for assistive technology! I got so used to my voice command PC interface that I still use it a lot. Anyway, thanks for your comment on my last post on my blog. DS in Idaho is kinda slow in coming. We're a very stingy state when it comes to spending on higher ed or any social programs for that, we're running things off a shoestring here. We still have massive issues with diversity in general here in Idaho, let alone discrete content areas like womens studies or disability studies. But there are still a few of us carrying the DS flag here...we're making slow, but sure, progress.

Mike Dorn said...

Hi Matt - It was so great to hear about your efforts at the University of Idaho. And it is interesting to hear your story of rehabilitation from your bicycle accident. After mine, I thought I was going to have to use Dragon Naturally Speaking, but as it turned out it was easier for me to type with my left hand and one finger on my right.

We are entering an interesting period here in Philadelphia. Everywhere there are suggestions that people are interested in dusting off their bicycles and taking to the streets. Yet the very real resistance of drivers to granting equal rights and fair share of the pavement is going to scare many back off of the streets. Others are dissuaded by the experiences of their friends and co-workers. Learn more about these issues in Philadelphia from Brian Howard's editorial letter in this week's Philadelphia City Paper.

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