Props To Bethlehem PD

The video embedded below has over a million views, so it’s sort of old news at this point. For anyone that hasn’t seen this clip, here’s the story:

Cyclist Frank Pavlick was crossing the Fahy bridge, which is a four lane bridge in Bethlehem, PA, separated down the middle by a concrete barrier. There is also a pedestrian-only section further protected by another concrete barrier. As  Mr. Pavlick was legally making his way across the bridge, most motor vehicle traffic safely passed him on the left. Unfortunately, one impatient seventeen year old made a very unsafe pass, striking Mr. Pavlick and sending him to the ground. What happened next is somewhat disturbing, if only for a moment. The driver simply pulled into the left lane and took off, a very clear case of hit and run. Luckily, a bus driver (Richard Gubish, Jr.)  at the far end of the bridge either saw the accident in his rear view mirror, or was alerted to it by a passenger, and quickly took action. He used his bus to block the driver’s escape. As this was unfolding, another motorist pulled up to see if Mr. Pavlick was in need of medical assistance. Pavlick refused aid, and instead directed the motorist, Judson Smull, to give chase to the vehicle that just struck him. (I’m sure it went something like “Go get that motherf***er”) As Smull pulled in behind the hit and run driver, boxing him in, the police arrived on the scene. Pavlick, an exceptionally tough cyclist by the looks of the video, told the cop he was ok, and sent him off to go detain the driver. Pretty exciting stuff.



So here’s the cool part. The Bethlehem Police maintain their own blog, where they covered the details of the original incident. They did a follow up when the city of Bethlehem honored bus driver Richard Gubish, Jr., and good samaritan motorist Judson Smull, for “Exceptional Service to Their Community”. Their blog has photos of the severely damaged bicycle, the damage to the hood of the driver’s vehicle, and the video shown above. But they also posted the specific vehicle codes which the offending driver was charged with, including the new section of Pennsylvania law that amazingly enough, took effect that very morning. Here is the text of the vehicle code:

§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.


What makes this so interesting to me is that the day after the law went into effect, I wrote an article that was somewhat critical of it. But here it is, not even in place for 24 hours, and they’re not only charging someone under that code, it’s getting tons of press. So props to Bethlehem PD for their efforts in promoting awareness of this law in a highly visible manner. Good on ya to Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull, and a speedy recovery to Mr. Pavlick.


Ride safe.


– Brian


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