GoFundMe Page Launched After Traffic Violence Claims Another Philly Bicyclist

by | May 11, 2015 | Biking in Philly, Featured | 5 comments

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The intersection of Girard and Ridge

Early Sunday morning, Philadelphian Vijay Mohan lost his life in a crash with a 1993 Buick Roadmaster near the intersection of Girard and Ridge Avenues.  He is the second person on a bicycle in Philadelphia to be killed this year; Walter Smith was hit by a truck in Kensington in March. Vijay’s death is exactly a year to the day of a fatal crash that killed Antonio Sandoval Aparecio, also on Girard Ave., while he was traveling home from his shift at Johnny Brenda’s Bar in Fishtown.

There is no good information about what happened Saturday night.  We do know the motorist was traveling westbound on Girard and, according to news reports, Vijay was also traveling westbound from Society Hill to Brewertytown.  The intersection is tricky due to the skewed angle of Ridge when it meets Girard and the limited bikeable space between the trolley tracks and parked cars. The story was covered by Philly.com, NBC10, PhillyVoiceCBS, and Philadelphia Magazine.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Vijay’s family and friends. A Gofundme.com page has been set up to help Vijay’s family with funeral and memorial expenses.

This spring has had a string of high profile fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes.  Rachel Hall, a Temple senior, was hit by a teen driver (who was driving illegally with a learner’s permit) who left the scene (but later turned himself in.)  She is still in a coma according to press reports.  Elizabeth Karnicki was killed last week by a the driver of a duckboat vehicle while crossing Arch Street on 11th.  And two toddlers were killed by hit and run drivers on April 13th in separate incidences. According to the latest news reports, the killers of Abdul Latif Wilson and David Aliea have still not been apprehended or turned themselves in. A GoFundme.org also exists to help Latif’s family.

Philadelphia suffers, on average, from 11,000 crashes that cause 100 deaths and 10,000 injuries a year.  On average, two bicyclists  a year are killed annually, and we are not even half way through 2015.  We should not be accepting any traffic crash as normal or the price of transporting oneself.  We call upon our elected officials to develop a Vision Zero policy and implementable plan to make Philadelphia’s streets safer for all users.

Vijay will be remembered along with other traffic violence victims at Philadelphia’s Ride of Silence, scheduled for May 20th at 6:45pm that starts at the Art Museum steps.  Please join us.

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  1. rodney

    If people would put down their cell phones maybe they would be able to drive.

  2. Mo

    Are you a biker? Do you wear a helmet? Do you stop at all the red lights or fly through them? What I’m trying to point out here is we are responsible for our own actions and not the actions of others, they are out of our control. But if we can control our behavior appropriately, then others may follow.

    • Jake


      The issue here is that these streets, especially this intersection, are incredibly unsafe. Both Girard and Ridge lend to high automobile speeds, and neither has any form of bicycle infrastructure. The trolley tracks on Girard pose an additional danger, and mean that people biking need to turn in order to cross them at a 90 degree angle, contrary to the intersection’s skewed angle. Unsafe streets and lack of bicycle infrastructure killed Vijay Mohan. It is a horrible tragedy. The only way we can stop traffic deaths is to make our streets safer for all road users.

  3. Joe

    Mo, fair point. BUT as pedestrians and bikers, a car being distracted and hitting us trumps whatever actions we take.

    I ride my bike 1.5 miles each way to work every day. every single day, I notice that at least 50% of the cars I pass (South Street Bridge mostly) are driving distracted (texting, playing candy crush, talking on the phone while eating, rat dog in their lap). This is way more dangerous as a car will always win versus a pedestrian or bicyclist.

    In the past two weeks, I’ve almost been hit walking across the street at a stop sign by a car that rolled through the stop sign and never looked at me (he was looking right since it was a one-way coming from that direction, I came from the left). He stopped when I yelled and half jumped on his hood. I was almost hit today as a woman screeched to a stop at a red light, while I was in the designated crosswalk. She yelled at me ‘sorry. I have trouble with red lights now since I was rear-ended.’ So because she was rear-ended, I was in danger of walking and following the laws of the road.

    This is in addition to all of the close calls I encounter on a (nearly) daily basis on my bike, WHILE abiding by traffic lights, stop signs and sticking to 95% of roads with bike lanes and avoiding (like the plague) any street with trolley tracks. Not to mention, wearing a helmet, front and back lights, using hand signals for turns and donating to the Bicycle Coalition!

    It’s dangerous out there. I think it’s great for Philadelphia for Indego to be getting people out riding bikes. But I am deathly afraid of the consequences of people using it without the proper experience and understanding of what they are getting in to. As I watch people riding the wrong way down the middle of a one-way street with a smile on their face completely clueless of the danger they are putting themselves in (saw this three times this week and it’s only Tuesday!).

    anyway, I don’t have an answer, but people really need to watch out for themselves out there. It’s a culture change that needs to be embraced (like in many European countries) to encourage bikers and cars to coexist, but both sides need to be respectful and embrace the change.

    sorry to hear about this tragedy.


  4. Mrs Mohan

    Hi, this is Vijay’s mother. We are still deeply mourning the tragedy that struck us late May 9th and which ended in my son’s death early May 10th. We need help to have eye witnesses come forward and help police come up with an accurate account. We have found only one so far though there were many. Vijay was on the bicycle path when he was hit and tossed claims one eye witness.
    This was a young man who despite the bad economy had managed to build up a career and had wanted to get married to someone like himself with the help of his parents. He lived in the city and did not think a car was necessary till he got married. He was a safe car driver too. Our hearts go out to every bicycle victim who is robbed of a family life, robbing America of a family’s peace and good will.


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