SAN ANTONIO – Dozens of cyclists gathered at Raymond Russell Park on Saturday morning to pay tribute to those with whom they used to share the road.
Members from the San Antonio Cycling Alliance SACA helped organize San Antonio's "Ride for Remembrance," bringing awareness to rider safety and driver awareness as well as raising funds for their mission.
At Saturday's check-in table, cyclists received a bib that read, "Please don't kill me. I'm a..." The message is to remind motorists to slow down, because those on two wheels have families to go back to.
Rudy Méndez, a local cyclist and member of the cycling fundraising series Bike MS shared some tips for drivers: "Stay off your phone. Be aware that there are cyclists throughout the city."
Méndez also mentioned that there will be more cyclists on the roadways as it's the start of training season: "Watch out for two wheels."
According to SACA, in 2018 alone, 78 cyclists were killed in Texas. In 2019, they've already mourned the death of two familiar faces: Tito Bradshaw and Dr. Naji Kayruz. Both cyclists were struck by alleged drunken drivers.
Kayruz's widow, Sandra Vásquez Kayruz, was accompanied Saturday morning by her only son, Anthony Naji Kayruz.
Four months after Naji Kayruz's death, they stood at the foot of a roadside memorial marked by a white bike known as a "ghost bike."
"I wanted the cyclists to see what a horrific accident this was, from where he was hit to 50, 60 feet where he landed," Vásquez Kayruz said. "That was a horrible way for a very gentle man to die."
"Every time you see something like that, it just tears you apart," said David Gust, who has been cycling for about 60 years. Saturday morning, he arrived to Raymond Russell Park wearing bright green biker shoerts, a lime green helmet with a mirror attached to it and lights flashing on every side of his bike.
The gear is "just trying to show (motorists) that I'm out here," Gust said. Even with all the safety measures, he's aware that sometimes, it isn't enough.
To increase safety, SACA advises motorists to give cyclists three feet of distance and to put their phones down before a tragedy happens.
District 8 Councilman, Manny Palaez stated that the city hopes to increase bike lanes throughout San Antonio from 256 miles to 4,000 miles within the next three years.