On Sunday, a group of cyclists rode through Philadelphia in honor of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The event was organized by Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia and saw over 100 bicyclists hit the streets to pay tribute to those killed in car crashes. Among them was Sidney Ozer, who lost his 17-year-old son, Samuel.
Ozer said that on Father’s Day 2020, he 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.
The city of Philadelphia is a Vision Zero city, meaning it aims 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 organizer of the commemorative bike ride, said advocates want 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 highlighted the importance of extending the Speed Camera Pilot Program on Roosevelt Boulevard because it’s set to expire next month. With Thanksgiving coming up and an empty seat at the dinner table where Samuel would have sat, Ozer vowed to celebrate his son’s life and continue fighting for safer streets in his honor.