Cyclists ride for change after fatal crashes

PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk 

Will Lindsay had an outgoing and quirky personality, and he was passionate about craft beer, disc golf, Philly sports and cycling.

He “touched so many large groups of people,” his mother, Monica said. “He lit up any room that he would walk into.”

“He was always the first one to try things, and we always followed along,” Phil, his younger brother, added.

Lindsay, 32, was hit by a car and killed while riding his bicycle July 12 on the 3800 block of Ridge Avenue, across the street from the main entrance to Laurel Hill Cemetery and less than a mile from his Strawberry Mansion house.

Officers found him unconscious and bleeding from the head, and the driver fled the scene.

Family, friends and members of the cycling community gathered Sunday to ride in honor of Lindsay and two other cyclists who were recently killed in crashes. They also called on state and local officials to make conditions safer for bicyclists.

Felix Smith helped organize Sunday’s “Ride for Solidarity.”PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk 

“While it’s about Will, it’s not just about Will,” said Felix Smith, who organized the “Ride for Solidarity” with his sister, Sylvie, who was Lindsay’s longtime partner.

Several days before Lindsay was killed, 18-year-old Nadir Nafis Holloman died after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River.

On June 21, Samuel Ozer, 17, was hit by a car on the 5400 block of Henry Avenue, near Wissahickon Valley Park, and later died.

“All bicyclists are heartbroken and horrified and angry about the condition of our roads and the condition of traffic violence that has resulted in these deaths,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Members of the Holloman and Ozer families showed up for Sunday’s event, and some participated in the 12-mile ride, which started at the Dell Music Center in Fairmount Park.

Riders headed down Martin Luther King Drive and looped around City Hall, before returning to a roadside memorial to Lindsay on Ridge Avenue.

A memorial for Will Lindsay was created on the 3800 block of Ridge Avenue in North Philadelphia. PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk 

Following his death, Felix and Sylvie Smith set up a GoFundMe to promote bicycle safety. So far, it has raised more than $60,000.

The proceeds will be split between the Bicycle Coalition and Neighborhood Bike Works, a West Philadelphia organization that provides bike access and repair.

Sylvie Smith, Will Lindsay’s longtime partner, speaks near his memorial on the 3800 block of Ridge Avenue. PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk 

“We need to take action after showing everybody what we are trying to accomplish here,” Lindsay’s father, Bill, said. “We have to step up and make it safer.”

Stuart said the coalition has been pushing to get parking protected lanes permanently legalized at the state level. Right now, cities like Philadelphia have installed some protected lanes as a pilot program, she said.

PHOTO: Jack Tomczuk 

Legislation regarding the lanes stalled when lawmakers went on their summer break, but the coalition hopes it moves to the top of the agenda in the coming session.

“There are laws that can be passed,” Stuart told Metro. “There’s new infrastructure that can be put into our roads to make them safe.”

Sylvie Smith brought up the city’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths by 2030 through making streets safer.

Lindsay’s family, who are from Haverford, said they noticed dangerous conditions on Ridge Avenue right away.

Detectives continue to search for the vehicle that fatally struck Will Lindsay.PHOTO: Philadelphia Police Department

“There’s so many flaws with Ridge Avenue,” Phil Lindsay said. “It’s even scary walking up the sidewalk up Ridge Avenue.”

Detectives continue to search for the vehicle that hit Lindsay. Police describe it as a 2010 to 2015 white Chevy Camaro with red stripes on the hood and trunk. The car may have damage to its front windshield.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Accident Investigation Unit at 215-685-3180/3181.