As the studies show, more and more commuters are trading in their parking passes for bike locks. In light of those numbers, it's heartening to hear that the number of fatalities per bike trip has decreased in Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. That suggests to me that these new-to-biking commuters are riding less aggressively than the old urban vanguard of bike messengers and Tour de France wannabes. If the present trends continue, we'll see daredevil bicyclists like me become an even smaller minority of bicyclists as a whole.
And some of us are trying to get better. I've recognized that my bad behavior keeps others from taking up riding, and keeps politicians from investing in things I care about, like more bike lanes. So I've stopped riding on sidewalks and try to keep my illegal lefts to a minimum. But I've been a jerk for a real long time. So, let me say this to drivers, pedestrians, and my fellow riders alike: I'm sorry. See, aren't cyclists the nicest, most polite people in the whole world?
Jim Saksa is an attorney and writer in Philadelphia.