On Sunday, a large group of cyclists rode through Philadelphia to raise awareness about bicycle safety and mark World Road Traffic Day. More than 100 cyclists took part in the commemorative bike ride, paying their respects to cyclists killed in traffic accidents, including Sidney Ozer’s 17-year-old son Samuel.
On Father’s Day 2020, Samuel was returning home from work at a bike shop when he was struck and killed by a car on Henry Avenue. The street has had serious injuries and impacts, said Ozer. According to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Complete Streets, more than 110 people have died in traffic accidents this year, including 10 bicyclists.
Laura Fredricks, who co-founded the Family for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia, said that Philadelphia is a city of zero vision when it comes to road safety. She wants to see more bike lanes lined with parked cars that separate cyclists from moving traffic. Although this type of bike lane is legal on city streets, it is not legal on state-owned roads.
Fredricks also wants the Roosevelt Boulevard Speed Camera Pilot Program extended as it is set to expire next month. With Thanksgiving approaching, there will be an empty seat at the dinner table where Samuel would have sat. Ozer vows to celebrate his son’s life and continue the fight for safer streets in his honor.
Advocates are calling for changes in transportation policies that prioritize safety over speed and convenience. They want to see more investment in infrastructure that encourages walking and biking as modes of transportation. They also want stricter enforcement of traffic laws and greater public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
The commemorative bike ride was a powerful reminder of the lives lost due to preventable accidents on our roads. It also served as a call to action for everyone who cares about road safety to speak out and demand change.
As we continue our fight for safer streets, let us remember Samuel Ozer and all those who have been lost due to preventable accidents on our roads. Let us work together towards creating a city where every person can travel safely without fear or worry about their own life or the lives of others on the road.