A ghost bike in honor of Emily Fredricks

For Laura Fredricks, being around other safe cycling advocates is a form of therapy. And if their gathering helps raise money to prevent traffic crashes, even better.

That’s exactly what’ll happen at the second annual ProfiteROLL, a scavenger hunt that challenges people to ride around the city and eat as many sweet treats as possible. It’s pastry a bike crawl — and it ends in a family-friendly outdoor fest, complete with a bike rodeo.

What’s dessert got to do with safer streets? The connection is Laura’s daughter.

Emily Fredricks was a pastry chef at former restaurant Le Cheri when a trash truck driver slammed into her riding in the bike lane near 11th and Spruce, causing her death in November 2017. She was just 24 years old.

“Putting the two things together, having the bike ride with the sweet treats, bringing awareness to the need for safer streets and how cyclists need to be treated with respect, it’s great,” Fredricks said. “Because Emily was killed on these streets.”

So far, stops on the scavenger hunt include:

  • Cake Life Bake Shop
  • Little Baby’s Ice Cream
  • Fiore
  • Sweet Box
  • Parc
  • Lost Bread Co.
  • Cadence
  • Hungry Pigeon
  • Taffets
  • United by Blue
  • Tish Smith of Friday Saturday Sunday at Berkshire Hathaway in Rittenhouse

‘These are not accidents, these are crashes’

Over the past year and a half, Fredricks has been active, meeting with officials to press for changes that might have prevented her daughter’s tragedy, and starting a new nonprofit. The nonprofit, Families for Safe Streets of Greater Philadelphia, is partnering with the Bicycle Coalition to put on the scavenger ride — which this year is culminating in a mini outdoor festival.

“We’ll have a bike rodeo, music and a fun atmosphere,” said Alan Spooner, Bike Coalition development director. A former pastry chef himself, Spooner spearheaded the effort to launch the first ProfiteROLL in 2018, which was considered a big success.

Since then, momentum in the safer streets movement has only picked up. Last month, DA Larry Krasner brought criminal charges against the Gold Medal Disposal driver who caused Emily’s death, a milestone move in a circumstance often treated by the justice system as a blameless accident.

“These are not accidents, these are crashes, and they need to be dealt with,” said Fredricks. “Just because you didn’t have a gun or a knife, you still killed someone.”

Preventative changes are also moving forward. Protected bike lanes are becoming more common in Philadelphia — and the JFK and Market street pilots are slated to become permanent, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker announced at last week’s Vision Zero conference.

And as part of a civil settlement with the Fredricks family, Gold Medal is outfitting its trash trucks with sidebars, a safety measure other waste removal companies are expected to follow. The Streets Department has also said it would implement sidebars on new municipal vehicles.

“It’s not a panacea,” said Bike Coalition policy director Randy LoBasso, “but in the case that they do collide [with a cyclist or pedestrian], it doesn’t have to turn from an injury to a fatality.”

A festival next to the El

This year, the ride even has a handful of corporate sponsors, including dockless bicycle and scooter-share company LimeBike and Fishtown Co., the community organization backed by developer and restaurateur Roland Kassis.

“Roland owns these two parking lots by the El — I knew they’d be perfect,” Spooner said, explaining that when he asked Kassis about using them, he mentioned needing a lead sponsor.

“How much?” Kassis said. Hearing that $2,500 was the answer, he didn’t hesitate to jump on board. “Pay him,” the Suraya owner told his associate.

Registration is now open for the ProfiteROLL, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

The post-ride celebration in the lot at Front and Cecil B Moore kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Money raised will support the Emily Fredricks Memorial Fund. Find out more at ProfiteROLL.org.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...