On Sunday, November 21st, thousands of people across the nation gathered to honor and remember traffic victims that have been killed in 2021. In Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) and the Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia (FSSGP) hosted its third-annual World Day of Remembrance (WDoR) PHL at the Cobbs Creek Parkway in West Philly. They were also joined by family members of traffic victims and local and state elected officials, in support of advocating for safer streets in Philadelphia.
The WDoR PHL consisted of four-part collaborative events organized between local bicycle groups/teams, BCGP, FSSGP, local elected officials, and the office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS).
The event began with two bike rides from 1) 30th and Market street 2) Kayuh Bicycle Cafe and ended at the Cobbs Creek Recreational Center, in West Philly, where everyone convened before walking down to the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center to begin the ceremony.
Boathouse Row was lit up as well, thanks to the City of Philadelphia. We were honored to have Laura Fredricks, co-founder of FSSGP, and founder of the Emily Fredricks Foundation, to be the master of ceremonies for the WDoR memorial.
Pastor Willie Singletary, opened the ceremony with a prayer for the lost traffic victims and their families followed by reading a few names of traffic victims killed this year. The ceremony continued with the following guest speakers:
Here’s what the speakers had to say:
- Senator Anthony Williams – “We are past the point of reasonable conversation..this is an epidemic! We have a responsibility to put cameras up to find the people who commit these crimes….I hope you do show up in Harrisburg..We need you to get organized!”
- Council Member Jamie Gauthier – “Avente’s murder represents a failure of infrastructure that is supposed to keep us alive and mobile and frankly is also a failure of government”
- Council Member Isaiah Thomas – ” I have kids too and I could only imagine what the families are going through. We need to stop this epidemic.”
- Channabel Morris – “Remember that these numbers are names, and these names are people who have families, we must not forget.”
The main focus was passing PA House Bill 140, securing investigation equipment/technology for the Philadelphia Police Accident Investigation Division (e.g. FARO Radar), and getting the City of Philadelphia to reinvest funding back into Vision Zero PHL because 80 percent of traffic crashes occur on only 12 percent of Philadelphia streets. Traffic violence is an epidemic that hits low-income and BIPOC communities the hardest, and these are the communities where the most resources should be dedicated.
We are also actively supporting Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams’ Senate Bill 55, named after Jayanna Powell, which would expand the current Amber Alert system to notify the public about vehicles involved in hit-and-runs. These pieces of legislation can and should become law.
This year, so far, 108 people have been killed due to traffic-related crashes in Philadelphia; over 42,000 people are nationally killed each year; and, 1.35 million people are killed around the world.