On Wednesday, a Philadelphia judge dismissed the case against a professional driver who killed 24-year-old Emily Fredricks while she rode her bicycle on Spruce Street in November 2017.
Today, the Bicycle Coalition is calling upon the District Attorney’s office to appeal the judge’s decision and vigorously seek justice for Emily, her family, and Philadelphia’s cycling community.
“As your office concluded through video evidence, the driver was wearing earbuds at the time of the incident, and was fumbling with papers, clearly distracted and acting recklessly,” wrote Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart in a letter to District Attorney Larry Krasner. “This decision is a devastating blow not only to Emily Fredricks’ family and friends, but the entire bicycling community.”
As the Bicycle Coalition and Families For Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia concluded in a study released in February 2019, only about 16 percent of motorists who kill bicyclists and pedestrians are ever charged with a crime.
None of the drivers who’ve killed 11 cyclists in Philadelphia over the past three years have been charged.
That’s why this case was so important to Philadelphia’s cycling community. It was the first high-profile case in recent memory in which the District Attorney was actually pressing charges against a reckless driver who killed a vulnerable road user on Philadelphia’s streets.
There is a constant bias against cyclists and pedestrians after a violent traffic incident like this occurs, in which the first question is often whether the deceased cyclist was breaking the law or wearing a helmet, or whether the pedestrian was crossing the street against a red light.
Yesterday’s dismissal, unfortunately, tells us that such bias exists not only throughout our society, but in at least one interpretation of the rule of law.
It’s for all these reasons the District Attorney absolutely must appeal this case and get justice for Emily.
Read Sarah Clark Stuart’s entire letter to District Attorney Larry Krasner below. We are organizing an action for all of Philadelphia’s cyclists to be involved in tomorrow and will provide more details on that later today.