Why the Fredricks Settlement Is So Important

by | September 26, 2018 | Biking in Philly, Crash, Featured, Vision Zero | 3 comments

Bicycle Coalition

Emily Fredricks

The family of Emily Fredricks recently settled with Gold Medal trucking company over Emily’s death in November 2017. Fredricks was riding her bicycle on a faded buffered bike lane on Spruce Street in Center City when the driver of a Gold Medal trash truck attempted to make a right turn and struck her.

This was a senseless, and preventable tragedy. And since it happened, the Fredricks Family has been courageous in their fight for safer streets in Philadelphia, with the goal that what happened to Emily doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Part of the Fredricks’ goals were realized recently, when the family settled with Gold Medal and was awarded much more than money.

The Fredricks worked with Bicycle Crash Lawyer Stuart Leon on a series of demands for Gold Medal that would make their drivers inherently safer around cyclists. And, according to Leon, the company went above and beyond to meet the Fredricks’ demands. As far as we can tell, this settlement and the meeting of demands is the first of its kind. We hope other companies that operate in Philadelphia, do deliveries, and use the streets, take note.

The demands Gold Medal will meet, or have met, include,

Driver Safety Training/Re-Training: Gold Medal agreed to have their drivers trained, and re-trained by a “certified training organization,” which will include interactions on urban streets with cyclists. The company will additionally implement new policies and procedures, which include stricter punishments for safety violations “to eliminate distracted driving and idling in bicycle lanes.” Lastly, drivers will be awarded by the company for safe driving practices.

New Regional Training Center: Gold Medal opened a new regional training facility, where drivers can practice driving on an urban obstacle course. “One such obstacle is a bike lane with a passing bicyclist.” The course, owned and operated by a safety consultant working with Gold Medal, opened over the summer.

Fredricks Involvement: The company has invited the Fredricks Family to tour the regional training facility so they can see for themselves how Gold Medal is taking action to prevent incidents like this in the future.” They have additionally invited the Fredricks Family to present to Gold Medal’s management and drivers and introduce new policies the new policies agreed to in the settlement.

Drive Cams: Gold Medal, according to the settlement, spent $6 million on new safety equipment, including new trucks. New trucks are being equipped with multiple rear/side view cameras to see cyclists and a “back up warning radar.”

Idling in bike lanes: Gold Medal trucks “will not park or idle in bicycle lanes.” So, report them if you see one idling in your right of way!

Donations: Gold Medal has agreed to donate $25,000 per year, for five years, to five organizations “committed to improving the safety of Philadelphia’s roads.”

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is humbled to be the first recipient of that donation. Along with the Fredricks Family, the Reffords, Latanya Byrd, Channabel Morris, the Javsicas’, and others, we are organizing a new organization in part with the contribution, called Philadelphia Families for Safer Streets.

This organization, which has already begun meeting, will bring together Philadelphia families who’ve been affected by traffic violence and come together as a force to advocate for a better, safer Philadelphia. Our first meeting was attended by David Shephard, who helped create and lead New York City’s Families for Safer Streets group.

We will have more information as this group comes together over the coming months. We are both amazed at the Fredricks’ resilience and strength, and humbled that they will continue working with us, and other families in the region, to make Philadelphia a safer place.

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  1. Ed Dougherty

    Thank you for this fuller account of the interactions between the Fredericks family and the trash pickup company. Hard not to be struck by the company’s continued involvement, beyond the point of the settlement, with the family and with the underlying safety issues. And, yes, this does seem like a very unique and sort of groundbreaking settlement to arrive at. Out of this dreadful tragedy, an incredible gift to the cyclists who follow.

  2. Jody Twer

    I wish that all state transportation departments would implement and stress safely standards, re-educated drivers on the rules of the road regarding cyclists and impose stronger laws when the rules are disregarded.
    I am happy to see this trucking company take action after such a tragic loss….something that should never have happened in the first place.

  3. John Baxter

    This sounds like a wonderful settlement and should prove to be very productive. However, I would still advise cyclists to either ride behind or in front of trucks like this, and be in a spot where you can see the direction signals when next to a tractor-trailer. The driver has blind spots on most trucks and simply cannot see anyone on a bike in those areas. Unfortunately, the public in general is not sufficiently aware of such areas–it’s really the fault of Departments of transportation that don’t include such information in basic drivers’ manuals. Cyclists need to be aware of the fact that, if they can’t see the driver in the mirror near them, the driver cannot see them. Protect yourself and always assume the driver might turn into your lane at an intersection and not see you.


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