Bicyclists killed by Automobile in 2009:
2009 was the year that the Philadelphia media did not report a single fatal bicycle crash in city. But that does not mean that no one was killed, past comparisons have shown that two to three fatal bicycle crashes were not reported by the media and we won't know the final tally until the National Highway Transportation Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) releases their statistics in the summer or fall. In the meantime I will remain an optimist and consider this good news.
- 07/16/09 - Rick Clendaniel 42, a Gloucester County High School teacher in Vineland, NJ on Mays Landing Road . The driver swerved into the shoulder and struck Clendaniel before hitting a telephone pole. Robert Byrd was charged with speeding and not wearing a seat belt.
- 07/27/09 - Cheryl Janzer, 50 in Bristol, PA struck while crossing US 13. No charges were filed.
- 09/10/09 - Anthony Hoffman 51 in Bridgeport, NJ at the interchange of US 322 and US 130 not far from the Commodore Barry Bridge, no charges were filed. Sun glare and the lack of shoulders on the overpass may have been factors
2009 was also a year that the press reported on pedestrians that were killed by bicyclists within one week of each other.
- 10/08/09 Tom Archie, 78 - Struck by a cyclist going the wrong way on Passyunk Ave.
- 10/15/09 Andre Steed, 40 - According to eyewitnesses was struck by a hit and run bicyclist in the street near the intersection of 16th and Locust
I found only one account that measured that magnitude of the problem, New York City recorded 11 killed by bike deaths in 10 years 1996 -2005. Statistically NYC is 6 times the size of Philadelphia, has a slightly higher percentage of people that walk to work and the number of people that take (and walk to) public transportation is double. Quick math in my head concludes that the ratio of pedestrians between New York City and Philadelphia is at least 12:1.
Several non-fatal bicycle crashes did make the news:
- On May 21st a father and and his 4 YO son were struck by an motorist driving an SUV who swerved left into the pedestrian island around a car that yielded for the cyclist. The driver was not charged. The Bicycle Coalition actively pushed for several safety improvements to the intersection and late last year a button activated traffic light was installed.
- On June 16th Amanda Gillern was struck by a taxi driver who fled the scene. She was hospitalized with broken bones including her neck as well as a punctured lung. Some called for a boycott of Old City Cab company since drivers are tracked by GPS. Ms. Gillern reported that the suspect was finally arrested in late November.
- On August 14th Alice Hershey crossed JFK Boulevard at 17th St on a red signal and was struck by an SUV. Although Hershey was wearing a helmet, the collision resulted in a traumatic brain injury and she remains in a coma today.
- On October 2nd an unidentified woman was struck by a hit and run driver at 22nd and Market. She was left in extremely critical condition, no word on the outcome of the near fatal crash. The motorist fled but was quickly apprehended by SEPTA police. Police described the man as obviously intoxicated and incoherent. It is believed that DUI charges were filed.
- Early in the morning on Thanksgiving Rachel Fletcher was run off the road by a motorist at 23rd and Locust. The anti bike sentiment of November and December along with the responding Police officers perceived lukewarm response prompted anger from the Bicycle Messenger Community. More than 100 cyclists showed up at rally at JFK Plaza in support.
The Bicycle Coalition offers their sympathies to the families of victims killed or maimed byroad violence and advocates for a Vision Zero policy with the goal of zero traffic fatalities. On May 19th we will be hosting the Ride of Silence to honor those who have lost their lives.