17-year-old memorialized with school bicycle shop built in his memory

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
17-year-old memorialized with school bicycle shop built in his memory
Sam Ozer was struck and killed while riding his bicycle last year. Now, his school is building a bicycle repair shop and education program in his name.

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Sam would never have found himself if it wasn't for mountain biking," said Mindy Maslin.

Maslin and her husband's lives revolve around cycling. They began teaching their son, Sam, how to ride as a child. Sam would go on to join the bicycle programs at AIM Academy. After graduation, the 17-year-old was on track for a decorated college career.

"Samuel was coming home from his dream summer job at Trek bicycles on Father's Day to celebrate the holiday with us," said Sidney Ozer, Sam's father. "He was struck and killed by an automobile on Henry Avenue in Philadelphia, where many other lives were taken by traffic violence as well."

Their child's death prompted an outpouring of support from the community. It started with a silent bicycle ride that attracted hundreds of riders. Their next idea was to create a bicycle repair shop in Sam's honor.

"Because Sam worked at Trek, they have come on board and are completely outfitting the interior, including the design, the work benches," said Anne Rock, the bicycle programs director at AIM Academy. "Also, we partnered with Project Bike Tech and they are providing the curriculum for this and the certification programs."

Construction continued on "Sam's Place" today. Sam's parents were invited to take a peek at the progress ahead of the official opening later this year.

"That program will start this fall, and we're hoping that we will churn out kids like Sam who love to tinker and ride bikes and make the world a better place," said Rock.

In the meantime, Sam's parents are hoping to raise awareness about better safety practices on the road.

"We need to allow protected bike lanes as a part of our infrastructure in the way we commute and recreate in our cities," said Ozer. "We also need speed cameras, and more traffic lights, and speed calming devices to make our cities safer and more enjoyable."

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