Bill named for late Pitt staff member hopes to improve bike safety

White bike adorned with flowers ties to poleA bill making its way through the Pennsylvania legislature is named in part for a Pitt staff member who was killed while riding her bike home from work in 2015.

Susan Hicks was the assistant director for academic affairs in the University Center for International Studies’ Center for Russian and East European Studies. She was riding her bike legally on Forbes Avenue near Bellefield Avenue when she was struck by a car in a chain-reaction accident.

House Bill 140, aka Susan and Emily’s Law, would change the state motor vehicle code to allow vehicles to park further than 12 inches from a curb and create space for a protected bike lane in between the parked cars and the sidewalk. 

The legislation was introduced by Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks). Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Pittsburgh) added an amendment to name the bill after Hicks and Emily Fredricks, of Philadelphia, who was struck and killed by a garbage truck in 2017 as she biked to work.

Following Hicks’ death, cycling enthusiasts both on and off campus voiced the need to make biking on the road safer. In 2017, bike lanes were added in both directions on the stretch of Forbes from Bigelow Boulevard to South Craig Street. Two-stage left-turn boxes for cyclists also were added to the Forbes intersections with South Craig and Bigelow Boulevard. The left-turn boxes provide a way for cyclists to turn left from multi-lane roadways without having to cross into busy traffic.

Susan and Emily’s Law was passed by the state House unanimously on March 17. It currently is awaiting action from the Senate Transportation Committee.

— Susan Jones


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.