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, PhillyVoice, CBS, 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.