On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 29-year old Timothy Guy Robles was struck and killed by the drivers of two motor vehicles while biking westbound on West Lehigh Ave and Broad St at 8pm. The Philadelphia Fire Department Medical unit transported Robles to Temple University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Robles is the fourth cyclist killed this year. Another preventable tragedy.
Three additional bicyclists killed in 2021:
- Heather Peters, 74-years of age, killed on April 24th while biking on Ekans Oval.
- George Gibbs, 60-years of age, killed on April 4th while biking across N. 43rd st and Fairmount Ave.
- Nicolas McMonigle, 41-years of age, killed on February 25th while biking on the 9900 block of Frankford Ave.
Robles was riding westbound across the intersection of Broad St and Lehigh Ave when he was struck by the driver of a Dodge Challenger headed northbound, causing Robles to be tossed into the southbound lanes of Broad St. where he was struck a second time by the driver of a Nissan Rogue driving southbound.
In another incident on March 14th of this year, 61-year old Tekela Bailey was crossing Broad St and Lehigh Ave when she was struck by the driver of a northbound motor vehicle that ran the red light. Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
North Broad St, Route 611, continues to be a corridor that repeatedly proves to be deadly for pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users. In 2020, there were 15 traffic-related deaths on the entire Broad St corridor. 80 percent of traffic deaths along Broad Street occurred on North Broad.
Timothy Robles, Heather Peters, and Nicolas McMonigle were all killed on State Routes. George Gibbs was killed on a local street but for all four cases, according to Open Philly Data Fatal Crashes, there have been no arrests made and remain either are pending or under investigation. Currently, on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia 2021 Traffic Victims Page: 52 percent of traffic victims cases have No Arrest, 41 percent remain Pending, and 7 percent of the cases resulted in an Arrest.
This means that if communities, which these corridors run through, want to make improvements to either route they would have to: 1) contact the local municipality and have them approved of the improvement request, 2) PennDOT needs to approve and issue a permit for the redesign/signage/engineering, and 3) the Philadelphia Streets Department would then apply the request for the improvements/redesign/maintenance of the State Routes.
The number of hurdles to overcome in order to make safer streets in Philadelphia communities that have State Routes running through them is outrageous. The corridors are often maintained poorly, as well.
Above is an image of the intersection that Robles was attempting to cross. There are four main issues with this corridor: 1) the bike lane on both sides of West Lehigh Ave are completely faded which makes it unsafe for any cyclists on this street, 2) cars are protruding into the crosswalk which could block drivers view of cyclists or pedestrians crossing Board St, 3) the crosswalk is extremely faded making it unclear for both drivers and pedestrians where to stop or cross, and 4) There are no bike lane conflict indicators going through the intersection indicating to drivers that bicyclists will potentially be crossing Broad St.
These conditions not only increase the probability of traffic-related crashes but it perpetuates lack of accountability when a crash or death does occur. The lack of safety precautions, Automated Speed Enforcement cameras, and funding for the PPD Accident Investigation Division to document traffic-related crashes continue to leave 2 out of 3 cases unsolved.
As the City of Philadelphia continues to transition back into its daily norms, our streets should not. We need to prioritize human lives before motor vehicles, increase parking-protected bike lanes in our city and state streets, and increase the budget for Vision Zero.