On Sunday, a group of cyclists rode through Philadelphia to raise awareness about bike safety and pay tribute to cyclists killed in car crashes. The event, which took place on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, was organized by Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia. Among the participants was Sidney Ozer, who lost his 17-year-old son, Samuel, in a Father’s Day car crash on Henry Avenue.
According to the city of Philadelphia’s Office of Complete Streets, more than 110 people have been killed in traffic fatalities this year, including 10 cyclists. This is despite the city’s commitment to becoming a Vision Zero city and eliminating all traffic deaths. Laura Fredricks, a co-founder of Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia and the organizer of the commemorative bike ride, said that advocates want to see more bike lanes where there’s a row of parked cars separating the bicyclists from moving traffic. However, this type of bike lane is legal only on city streets and not on state-owned roads.
Fredricks also highlighted the need for the Speed Camera Pilot Program on Roosevelt Boulevard to be extended beyond its upcoming expiration date next month. With Thanksgiving coming up and an empty seat at the dinner table where Samuel would have sat, Ozer vowed to continue his fight for safer streets in honor of his son.
The event brought together cyclists from all walks of life who shared their stories and experiences with bike safety issues. The group rode through downtown Philadelphia and passed by City Hall before heading towards Independence Mall. As they rode along Broad Street, they were met with cheers from passersby who were encouraged by their message.
Overall, the commemorative bike ride served as a powerful reminder that every person who loses their life due to traffic violence leaves behind loved ones who are forever changed by their loss. It also underscored the importance of working towards safer streets for all road users.
As Ozer put it: “I will never forget that day when my son was taken away from me in a senseless act of violence on our city’s streets.” But he added: “I will use this pain and grief to keep fighting until we reach our goal – zero traffic deaths.”