On Sunday, a large group of cyclists rode through Philadelphia to raise awareness about bike safety and pay tribute to cyclists killed in car crashes. The commemorative bike ride marked World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and was attended by more than 100 bicyclists.
Among them was Sidney Ozer, who lost his 17-year-old son, Samuel, on Father’s Day 2020. Ozer was coming home from his job at the bike store when he was struck and killed by an automobile on Henry Avenue, a high injury, high impact street. 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.
Philadelphia is a Vision Zero city, which means that we want to get to zero traffic deaths. However, the numbers are going in the wrong direction. Laura Fredricks, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia and an advocate for safer streets, helped organize the commemorative bike ride. She wants to see more bike lanes where there’s a row of parked cars separating the bicyclists from moving traffic. While this type of bike lane is legal on city streets, it’s not legal on state-owned roads.
Fredricks also wants to see the Speed Camera Pilot Program on Roosevelt Boulevard extended because it’s set to expire next month. With Thanksgiving coming up, there will be an empty seat at the dinner table where Samuel would have sat. Ozer is vowing to celebrate his son’s life and continue the fight for safer streets in his honor.
The commemorative bike ride was a powerful reminder that we must continue working towards safer streets for all road users. It is crucial that we take action now before another tragedy occurs on our city’s roads.