Memorial bike ride honors cyclist killed near stadium

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

On the sidewalk near Gate 7 of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, directly across from the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, stands a white bike locked to a pole and adorned with artificial flowers. A laminated paper attached to the bike reads, “In Memory of Anthony John Diaz.” Diaz died Jan. 28 at San Jacinto Boulevard and East 23rd Street when his bike collided with a Capital Metro bus. 

People on bikes — standard, tall and recumbent — met at Plaza Saltillo at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday before making their way down San Jacinto Boulevard and to the white bike for Social Cycling Austin’s silent ride commemorating Diaz. 

A brief address was made by a member of Social Cycling Austin at the white bike, in which he acknowledged he has been in contact with Capital Metro. The riders then continued to the Capital Metro building on East 5th Street to speak about the significance of safety that bus drivers should keep in mind. 

To improve bike safety, Bike Austin member Andrew McKenna said the wide sidewalk along San Jacinto could be redesigned, and he would be in favor of removing street parking in the area.

 

“I ride this street frequently, and the first thought I had was, ‘It could’ve been me,’” McKenna said. “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but it did, so I wanted to show solidarity for Anthony.”

Social Cycling Austin member Carl Miron said bike safety concerns extend beyond San Jacinto Boulevard.

“I feel like it’s not safe on the streets of Austin, even with the bike lane,” Miron said. “It’s not wide enough. I ride South Lamar sometimes and go up … both ways on South Lamar, and sometimes, I have to get out of the way because I see the bus coming, and it’s so close. It stinks that something tragic had to happen for this to now become more of local news and not be ignored like it has for so many years.”

Social Cycling Austin member Zach Underwood said the incident could’ve involved anyone in the biking group, but he hopes the community’s eyes have been opened.

“I think it’s a community problem,” Underwood said. “I think everybody needs to be involved instead of just like, ‘This person’s at fault, that person’s at fault.’ We’ve all got to work together so that stuff doesn’t happen.”