On Sunday, Philadelphia’s streets were filled with cyclists who rode to raise awareness about bike safety and pay tribute to cyclists killed in car crashes. The group of more than 100 bicyclists marked World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims by honoring those lost on the roads. Among them was Sidney Ozer, who lost his 17-year-old son, Samuel. Ozer spoke about how he was coming home from his job at the bike store on Father’s Day 2020 when he was struck and killed by an automobile on Henry Avenue, a high injury, high impact street.
According to the city of Philadelphia’s Office of Complete Streets, more than 110 people have been killed in traffic fatalities this year, including 10 cyclists. Laura Fredricks, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia, said that Philadelphia is a Vision Zero city but that the numbers are going in the wrong direction. Advocates want to see more bike lanes where there’s a row of parked cars separating the bicyclists from moving traffic. While this type of bike lane is legal on city streets, it’s not legal on state-owned roads. Fredricks also urged advocates to push for the Speed Camera Pilot Program on Roosevelt Boulevard to be extended because it’s set to expire next month.
As Thanksgiving approaches, there will be an empty seat at the dinner table where Samuel would have sat. Ozer is vowing to celebrate his son’s life and continue the fight for safer streets in his honor. He believes that by working together as a community, they can make a difference and ensure that no one else has to suffer the same tragedy as he did.