After being run over by a truck, this Philly designer reached out for help - Philly


Dec. 22, 2017 7:29 am

After being run over by a truck, this Philly designer reached out for help

“It’ll be nice to not be broke while I work on getting un-broken,” said web designer and TechGirlz volunteer Becca Refford in a GoFundMe campaign launched Wednesday in the wake of a harrowing bike accident.

Becca Refford, in recovery.

(Courtesy photo)

A South Philly web designer was run over by a delivery truck last Friday, on the 1200 block of Pine Street.

Becca Refford, a TechGirlz volunteer and designer at WordPress shop CreativeMMS, is now looking at four to seven months of recovery time as she fends off multiple fractures including a rib, a foot and her pelvis.

The designer, 24, has launched a $5,000 GoFundMe campaign to help her grapple with the associated costs from the accident. Refford said she’ll be moving in with her parents during recovery since her apartment is an unaccessible third floor walk-up, but rent and utilities are still due. Medical bills, according to Refford, will likely be footed by the truck driver’s insurance.

We first caught wind of Refford in 2015, when she dropped out of Temple University’s computer science program and joined Chariot Solution’s paid internship program. Earlier this year, at our NET/WORK jobs fair, she told us she did not regret the decision.

“Man I feel uncomfortable asking for funds, but I’m going to suck it up and ask for your help,” Refford wrote in a GoFundMe campaign. “Thanks for your consideration, it means so, so much. It’ll be nice to not be broke while I work on getting un-broken.”

(This deep dive from the Huffington Post says medical bills and healthcare-related costs are a key factor in most bankruptcy filings by millennials.)

Any leftover funds from the campaign will go to Women Bike PHL, a program of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The coalition has been advocating for safety policies to protect riders in the city.


Refford’s crash comes just a few weeks after a woman named Emily Fredricks was killed in an accident at 11th and Spruce.

  • Joe

    Thanks for covering this. There’s actually a ton of overlap between people who ride bikes to get around Philadelphia, the bicycle activist community, and the tech community. I’m in all three, but am by no means alone in that. (There’s a #bike channel in PhillyDev Slack, for instance.) Being able to get around by bike (and foot) without box truck drivers running you over is important for every single Philadelphia resident and worker, and I feel like it’s especially important if Philly wants to be a modern city that attracts progressive young people (which includes lots of tech workers), but it’s also just plain old makes streets safer for everyone, including people who drive.

    One thing we noticed the other day was that in its application to Amazon for hosting the new headquarters, the city noted that they already installed the 30 miles of protected lanes Mayor Kenney promised to build during his campaign. Not only is that false, it’s disingenuous and insulting to the people who keep getting hit on city streets and to those of us who have put their bodies on the line to protect people by way of the two human-protected lanes that’s happened after Emily’s death and Becca’s injury. We need real action on this, not cowardly equivocation about the city’s intentions.

  • LinuxGuy

    This pertains to PA, but applies everywhere.

    I have some comments on Vision Zero. Speed limits should be set to the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed, yellow lights made longer, and stop signs only used where needed. At intersections, time the yellow light to actual approach speeds and use realistic perception and reaction times. Right now in Philly, we have poor traffic engineering, coupled with predatory enforcement. Vision Zero will take this to a level we do not want to be at.

    The speed cameras being lobbied for are a total disaster. I urge you to check into how many errors these make. They produce false readings and even cite the incorrect car. These are put into areas with absurdly low speed limits and tickets go out barely above the limit.

    With red-light cameras, the city should immediately discontinue their usage. In many areas, when the light is too short, people are cited a split-second after it changes, for stopping over the stop line, or a non-complete stop for a right-on-red turn. Who can defend this setup? The short yellows alone are a major problem, which yield most of the “violations.” Federal data also shows that non-complete stops for right turns almost never cause a crash, yet are the bulk of the tickets.

    All you need are speed limits set to the 85th percentile free-flowing traffic speed, longer yellows, decent length all-red intervals, and sensors to keep an all-red if someone enters late. No crashes! Can also sync lights and use sensors to change them and know where cars are.

    We then go on the stepped up normal police ticketing, which again is a problem. Every speed-timing device makes errors. Whether you lobby for fancier devices or use what you have, they still make errors. Same concerns as above with speed cameras, but a cop issues the tickets.

    Radar makes many errors, speed limits too low, and tickets barely over the speed limits.

    Then we have stop-arm cameras, bus illegal school bus passes are rare. Still, they make stop arm-extenders to block the lane.

    The lowering of speed limits was addressed above. Bad idea.

    In addition to the above ticketing safe drivers, the wrong drivers, etc., it is worse. Much of the above CAUSE crashes and lead to more congestion. It is easy to make numbers say what you want, but even right now, unbiased data shows that since red-light cameras were put in, crashes have gone up. You cannot deny this. Major media even reported it. If you adopt Vision Zero expect worse stats.

    I also must say that many of the crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians are caused by those people.

    Also, what you need to realize is that the city will drive people out of the city. The only people who will go there will be people seeking medical care. If you wish to ticket the elderly, then you are a cruel person, for sure. What about traffic diversion to lesser-used roads? OK, so you put a million cams on US 1, so that will drive cars into the side roads, which were not designed for this.

    I STRONGLY urge you to NOT adopt Vision Zero, to scrap the red-light camera program, and setup correct engineering in the city.

    Check out the National Motorists Association. Thanks.


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