Improving Bicycling Safety in the Philadelphia Area with Bike and Accessibility Ramp
For cyclists who live in New Jersey and work in Philadelphia, there is no safe and easy way to ride your bike to work without hopping off and carrying your bicycle for quite a ways. However, according to a recent article in the Courier-Post, the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) will be receiving around $1.2 million in grant money, which will “help build the first bicycle and handicap ramp onto the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway from the Camden side of the bridge.” The ramp will hopefully prevent bicycle accidents and to improve bike safety.
Without the ramp, anyone who uses the walkway to Philadelphia currently has to carry his or her bike “up several stories of steep stairs,” which total about 25 feet. For bicyclists who are not physically able to lift and carry their bikes, a ride from Camden to Philadelphia can be almost impossible. Cyclists on the Philadelphia side have long had access to a ramp that allows them to ride smoothly from one side to the other. It is not just bicyclists who need the ramp. As the article suggests, anyone who cannot physically walk up those steep stairs is also in desperate need of a ramp.
The design for the ramp is finished, and city officials anticipate construction taking around 15 months. The grant money for the project thus far comes from the William Penn Foundation ($400,000) and the U.S. Highway Administration ($800,000). However, the $1.2 million will not be enough to complete the project. Those grants will cover only a portion of the project cost of $4.1 million. The remaining funds will come from the capital budget account of the DRPA.
Ideas for a ramp project have been circulating for quite some time, and the project finally appears to be underway with the “urging of the citizen advisory board and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.” In addition to sheer concerns of bicycle and pedestrian safety, those in favor of the ramp argued that the current walkway does not comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Bicycle Safety Tips for All Ages
Whether you ride a bicycle to work or have young children who regularly ride bikes with their friends, keep in mind some of these bicycle safety tips. According to a tip sheet from SafeKids.org, the following are some significant recommendations for staying safe while bicycling:
- Always wear a helmet;
- Ensure that your helmet properly fits you and/or your child, meaning that the helmet fits snugly but does not impede eye sight lines;
- Properly maintain safety equipment (such as lights, brakes, tires, and reflectors) on your bicycle;
- Wear appropriate clothing that will not get caught in your bicycle chain;
- Fit yourself (or your child) to the bicycle—bikes are not “one size fits all”;
- Make eye contact with drivers when you are on the road;
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing anytime you ride; and
- Do not ride in the dark without appropriate safety lights.