A New Era of Advocacy: Part 2

Philly Bike Action! is a group of everyday cyclists organizing for safer streets for all. Their first demonstration was July 9th.

A New Era of Advocacy: Part 2
Riders with signs protesting the city-permitted blockage of Center City's Circuit Trails.

On Sunday July 9, Philly Bike Action! hosted its inaugural Sunday Slow Ride - a monthly demonstration protesting the frequent total blockage of the Circuit Trail-designated bike lanes on Spruce and Pine Streets. For a thorough overview of PBA and the Sunday Slow Ride, peep last week's story on The Trellis.

Despite a forecast threatening showers, 17 cyclists gathered at Schuylkill River Park Sunday morning to don homemade signs and pedal protesting a policy permitting private parking on bike lanes in Center City. Bystanders on the street cheered and took photos and even drivers honked horns and waved in support, illustrating a collective aspiration for a better system.

Riders were compelled to join the Sunday Slow Ride for various reasons, many simply tired of unsafe conditions and the threat of harm and harassment by impatient motorists on city streets. One rider brought his children, a poignant reminder of the diverse range of users that Philadelphia's streets accommodate (and endanger). Another rode in tribute of his teenaged son, who was tragically killed after being struck by a car three years ago in Philadelphia.

I stopped to chat with a few parishioners during the demonstration outside the Tenth Presbyterian Church at 17th and Spruce. Those I talked with emphasized that parishioners are authorized to park in the bike lanes during religious ceremonies and posited that parking there only a few hours a week is a fair compromise where resources are limited. They also expressed respect towards the riders’ assembly, an act protected by the First Amendment alongside an individual’s right to practice their religion.

"Honk for better bike lanes"

After about an hour, the demonstration concluded with coffee and donuts at Cadence Cycling adjacent to Schuylkill River park. With that, a new era of grassroots advocacy in Philadelphia is underway. The conversation will continue on Discord and the Sunday Slow Ride is set to take place the second Sunday of every month with the next scheduled for August 13.

Get Involved

Support Sam's Place: Youth cycling program honoring Sam Ozer

Subscribe to bi-weekly newsletter: bikeaction.org
Join the Conversation: Discord
Attend the Sunday Slow Ride:
Sunday August 13, 10am