By Yafa Dias
Around 7:25 am Tuesday November 28th, at 11th and spruce, 24-year-old Emily Fredricks was hit and killed by a person driving a private sanitation truck. Fredricks had been cycling down Spruce Street in the bicycle lane when she was hit by the driver when he turned right on 11th street and right-hooked her.
In response, on Wednesday morning, advocates and supporters created a human protected bicycle lane, in response to Tuesday’s tragedy.
Gold Medal, the sanitation company which owns the vehicle involved in the incident, haven’t responded to questions from the media of how the crash occurred. The driver has been cooperating with police and no charges have been filed, so far.
But organizers are demanding safer actions be taken in order to keep cyclist in the city protected.
The tragedy was senseless. The bike lanes on Spruce Street have withered down to almost nothing, and need serious protection to accommodate the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of cyclists who use the lane daily.
As noted by PlanPhilly on Wednesday,
Philadelphia won federal grants last spring to improve and expand the city’s bicycle infrastructure, including a proposal to upgrade the painted bike lanes on Spruce and Prince streets by adding physical barriers, such as flexible plastic delineator posts. Officials from the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems discussed the proposal at a community meeting last December, where they were met with voluble opposition from some local residents, who complained about losing the ability to load and unload cars directly in front of their homes and businesses.
Emily Fredricks’ parents spoke to Philly.com on Tuesday, and that can be read here.
On Wednesday morning, more than 100 cyclists formed a human-protected bike lane at 11th and Spruce to call attention to the senseless tragedy.
Cyclists rode up Spruce Street, cheered on by their fellow citizens.
— Bike Coalition Phila (@bcgp) November 29, 2017
Today at the Northeast corner of 11th and Spruce, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and 5th Square will be hosting a vigil for Fredricks, and all victims of traffic violence at 5 pm.
The event will be a candlelight vigil with four speakers. It will conclude with a short ride through Spruce and Pine Streets.
The Bicycle Coalition invites everyone to attend. It’s important the people of Philadelphia understand that a single death–especially on, supposedly, Philadelphia’s premier lanes–is one too many.