This is a repost from the PA Walks and Bikes blog. PA Walks and Bikes is a new statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, working on the ground in Harrisburg to make Pennsylvania a better place to live and ride.
Last week was the quarterly meeting of the Pennsylvania Pedalcycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee here in Harrisburg. We fondly refer to this tongue-twisting name as PPAC, and this committee influences the experience of bicyclists and pedestrians across the state.
So why is PPAC so important, and what the heck is a pedalcycle?
First, a pedalcycle is the technical term that the Pennsylvania government uses for all vehicles that are powered exclusively by pedaling. Think of it as an inclusive term that covers unicycles, bicycles, tricycles, and onward. I saw a tandem, recumbent pentacycle recently!
The laws governing pedestrians and “pedalcyclists” Tucked into Chapter 35 of Title 75, the Vehicle Code. Click here to check it out. Subchapter D, near the end of the document, establishes PPAC. It’s purpose is “to advise and comment on all phases of cycling and pedestrian program activities being undertaken or financially assisted by the department and agencies of State government.”
While PPAC was successful in achieving this mission during the early years of its existence, the committee’s effectiveness has weakened in recent years. Low attendance has been an on-going issue, and much of the committee’s actions have emphasized bicyclists while ignoring important pedestrian issues.
PA walks and Bikes Chairperson Hans van Naerrsen is also a member of PPAC, and he has been working with the committee’s other active members to make important reforms. At last week’s meeting, an important step was taken when the committee approved the changes to their bylaws. Once these changes are adopted by the state legislature into the vehicle code, the potential for PPAC’s effectiveness will improve.
In addition, Mr. van Naerrsen led a push for two other important resolutions. One asks PennDOT to develop a plan and timeline to resolve an on-going and complicated issue that has deterred some municipalities from adding bike lanes to state roads. The other resolution asks PennDOT to make the completion of Safe Routes to School projects a priority.
We will be tracking these and other PPAC issues moving forward, and we will bring you any important updates on progress with PPAC’s action items.
- Care about statewide bicycle and pedestrian issues? Take a look at the PA Walks and Bikes website.
Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: www.bike-pgh.org/membership