On Tuesday afternoon, about 25 cyclists rode around City Hall to bring greater attention to last week’s cycling death of Emily Fredricks and to pressure the city government to create more protected bike lanes.
The ride, organized by Jameson Gitto, met at Thomas Paine Plaza and circled City Hall for 15 minutes before returning to the Plaza. Escorted by police during the ride, cyclists chanted things like “What do we want? (Protected bike lanes), When do we want them (now)” while getting the attention of onlookers and City Hall workers.
As most know, Philadelphia pastry chef and cyclist Emily Fredricks was killed while riding her bike on the Spruce Street bike lane last week after the driver of a private sanitation vehicle made a right hook in front of her. She was 24 years old.
Since then, Philadelphia cyclists have ramped up their advocacy for protected bike lanes, protected intersections, and other safety precautions we want to see the city install now. Philadelphia made international news when a human-protected bike lane formed on the street where Emily lost her life.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has listed seven demands that we feel are no-brainer, fast fixes the city should enact immediately. Of them, restriping faded bike lanes has already begun, albeit much too late. Those who agree with those demands and want to let it be known can sign our petition here.
Joining cyclists at the end of Wednesday’s ride were some of Emily’s friends and family, the latter of which were decked in sweatshirts with “We ride for Emily” on the back.
The ride was a success in that it made noise, got media attention, and was seen by those who work in City Hall and the Municipal Services Building. Rides and events like this—along with more meetings with officials in the city—will likely continue throughout the winter months.
As I noted after the ride, the Bicycle Coalition is currently putting together a survey about protected bike lanes, and we plan on bringing it directly to the people of Philadelphia, so we, and the city, can better gauge how residents feel about street safety. We are still currently working on that survey. But if you’d like to help distribute it, please email me here.