On Tuesday morning, nearly 100 cyclists came out—again—to create a human protected bike lane along 13th Street in Center City, where Becca Refford was right-hooked and run over by a truck last Friday.
Refford was badly injured by the truck driver, and, according to her family, will be bed-ridden for about two months.
Thanks to everyone for coming out this morning. Your participation means everything. pic.twitter.com/xiozmaBETh
— Bike Coalition Phila (@bcgp) December 19, 2017
Refford’s crash is the second along the Spruce-Pine Center City corridor in about three weeks. On November 29, pastry chef Emily Fredricks was killed while riding her bike on Spruce Street. Like Refford, she was right hooked by a truck while legally riding in a bike lane.
These sorts of crashes are unacceptable. And they’ve garnered people’s attention lately specifically because they took place on the streets deemed safest by the city of Philadelphia.
When buffered bike lanes were installed along Spruce and Pine Streets, and 13th Streets, almost a decade ago, they were considered state-of-the-art. Over time, those lanes have deteriorated, paint has faded, and as cities all over the country have taken the no-brainer approach of upgrading their current bike lanes with physical protection, Philadelphia has not followed suit.
The nearly 100 cyclists out on 13th Street this morning had common refrains: Vision Zero Now. Protected bike lanes now. Mayor Kenney, keep your promise of installing 30 miles of protected bike lanes.
Also out at the protest: Becca Refford’s parents and family, who managed to Facetime the protest directly to Becca from the hospital. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia met with Becca’s family after the protest, too, to discuss more ways we can work together to create safer streets for cyclists everywhere.
Philadelphia has more cyclists on our streets than ever before. And as studies and surveys have shown, motorists have never been more distracted, often driving with their faces buried in their phones, an image familiar to anyone and everyone who rides a bike or walks in Center City on any given day.
Separating motor vehicle and bicycle traffic is easy. We know how to do it. We have the examples of dozens of cities from around the country and world we can learn from. It’s time Philadelphia make protected bike lanes a priority. Because the cycling and walking community is not going anywhere.