news

Protesters create human bike lane where bicyclist was killed in Center City

Joseph Gambardello, Jason Laughlin

Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 9:33 AM

Protesters advocate for safer bike lanes by lining up along 11th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Dozens of protesters formed a human wall Wednesday to create a safe bike lane where a 24-year-old bicyclist was killed 24 hours earlier in a collision with a privately operated trash truck in Center City.

The bicyclist, identified Wednesday as Emily C. Fredricks of the 700 block of South Street, was fatally injured while riding a small wheel commuter bike at 11th and Spruce Streets Tuesday morning.

Police said Fredricks and the driver of the truck were headed west on Spruce Street when the truck turned right onto 11th Street, and they collided.

The driver, who has not been identified, is cooperating with investigators, and no charges have been filed. Police said the investigation is still underway.

There is a bike lane on the right side of Spruce Street, but it is poorly marked at the intersection.

Take note: motorists still getting by, children riding stress free along human-protected bike lane. pic.twitter.com/Q5RpyQWrcz

The protesters, many dressed in bicycling gear, are demanding safer bike lanes protected by flexible posts or curbs.

“What we need is actual infrastructure, and we wanted to put our bodies where we believe we need to have protection,” said Leigh Goldenberg, 35, one of the event’s organizers.

About 100 people lined Spruce Street from 11th to 13th Streets on Wednesday morning, she said. Some were from a women’s biking Facebook group she participates in, but many were strangers.

In Philadelphia about 2.5 miles of protected bike lanes have been created, most of them with flexible poles, but anything from planters to parked cars can be used to create a barrier between cars and cyclists. Philadelphia has about 200 miles of streets with bike lanes on them, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reported, and Mayor Kenney has said he wants 30 miles of protected bike lanes by 2022.

Goldenberg, though, wants the city to move faster. She’s been frustrated than communities resisting bike lanes — at times to keep a lane of car travel or parking — are slowing the process.

“Those things should not be priorities over someone’s life, and that’s what our elected officials are allowing to happen,” she said.

Spruce Street is scheduled to be restriped next month, said Mike Dunn, spokesman for the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Services.

“The city is committed, through its Vision Zero program, to expanding the city’s bike lane network, particularly protected bike lanes,” he said in a statement. “We have already established new protected bike lanes in the Northeast and West Philly.”

A candlelight vigil also was planned at the intersection Wednesday evening.

Bicyclist Fatalities in Philadelphia At least 26 bicyclists have died in accidents on Philadelphia streets since 2010. Seven of the fatalities involved collisions with trucks, including Tuesday morning’s accident at 11th and Spruce Streets that killed 24-year-old Emily C. Fredricks.

Joseph Gambardello, Jason Laughlin

Read full story: Protesters create human bike lane where bicyclist was killed in Center City

More Coverage:

Bicyclist killed in collision with garbage truck in Center City

What you need to know about bike lanes in Philadelphia