Artisans, activists and cyclists gathered at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City for a weekend full of exhibits and family fun at the 2018 Philly Bike Expo, held on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. This year’s event is the first to follow Philadelphia's Vision Zero campaign to protect bikers and reduce the amount of traffic deaths in Philadelphia.
"Vision Zero is a series of policy changes and legislative changes that can go a long way toward bringing all road deaths from all forms of traffic down to zero," said Randy LoBasso, communications manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. "Whether you’re getting on a bus, train or even if you’re driving, Vision zero is about everybody and making streets better no matter how you get around."
Launched Nov. 7. 2016 by Mayor Jim Kenney, Vision Zero Task Force's goal is to set a target of zero traffic-related deaths by 2030. At the time of signing his Executive Order, approximately 100 traffic-related deaths took place in Philadelphia, including drivers, passengers, people walking and biking, as well as four children annually. A three-year action plan was released in Sept. 2017, and within the first year of the Vision Zero focus, the City has installed the Market/JFK Vision Zero Pilot Program to improve conditions on these corridors, installed Boulevard Direct bus plazas for safer bus stations, and announced 16 grants totaling more than $17 million to expand the Vision Zero commitment city-wide.
In conjunction with Vision Zero, the Philly Bike Expo focused on the importance of biker safety and the addition of more bike lanes in the city. According to LoBasso, the bike lanes make drivers more aware of vulnerable cyclists next to them on the street, helping to reduce speeding and allowing cyclists more space to not ride recklessly, as well as obey stop signs and traffic lights. Although a misconception that bike lanes are only being created in wealthier neighborhoods, such as Center City, LoBasso's group is working to add more bike lanes citywide.
“We’ve actually been working a lot in neighborhoods outside of Center City holding meetings with community groups in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia,” he said.
Year Two of Vision Zero, will move into improving pedestrian-involved injury crashes through Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan.