More than a year after Emily Fredricks was killed by the driver of a private trash hauler in Center City, that driver is being charged and has been arrested. The District Attorney’s Office will be making an official announcement at 11:30am on Wednesday.
The driver is charged with Homicide By Vehicle, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia welcome this update in the case.
But this in no way makes up for what happened to Emily and her family.
The unnecessary death of Emily Fredricks while riding her bike to work in November 2017 was a tragedy, and both the charges against the driver and the settlement her family was given last year do not make up for it. Since that time, four cyclists and dozens of pedestrians and motorists have been killed, needlessly, while traveling on Philadelphia’s streets.
The Bicycle Coalition is continuing to work with Emily’s family and the rest of Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia, which will hold a press conference on the morning of February 28 (tomorrow morning) to update Philadelphia on what our group has been doing since our members helped advocate for the passage of a red light camera extension in 2017, and a speed camera bill in 2018.
That press conference will be held at 11th and Spruce Streets. In an awesome show of solidarity, our press conference is being independently joined by a human protected bike lane. All are welcome to attend.
It’s worth noting that this situation—in which a driver has actually been charged in the death of Fredricks—is sort of unique.
We released a report this week showing how few drivers in Philadelphia (about 16 percent) are ever charged with a crime for killing pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
While this number is alarming, the goal of our group is not to see more charges for traffic violations, and not to see more people stopped by police.
Rather, through automated enforcement, education, and more transparency in the legal system, we want better tracking of traffic violence cases, and more awareness that if you kill someone with your vehicle, there will be consequences.
While we welcome the justice served in this case, the culture of traffic violence in Philadelphia needs to change. The Bicycle Coalition and Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia plan to change it.
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