“It’s very hard for me every day. It’s like it was yesterday when he left us,” Enriquetta Amaya said.
It’s been fifteen years since Amaya’s older brother, Fernando Amaya, was killed while cycling.
“On August 25th of 2008, at 7 a.m. in the morning on his way to work,” Amaya said. “He was run over by a careless driver. He was on his bike on his way to work.”
Fernando was 42 years old and had been a deputy with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years. He loved to bike, but loved his family more, taking care of all of his siblings.
“He was like a father to me,” Amaya said. “He always made sure that we were taken care of.”
It’s why for the past several years on Día de los Muertos, Amaya has put an altar together for her brother, with special care to honor and remember him, but also to raise awareness for the many other cyclists who get killed each year in our area by drivers. She isn’t alone. SATX Social Ride, a bike-riding group that promotes safe social riding, has also made an altar for the many members of the community that have been killed while cycling.
“On average, we lose four or five people a year to cycling incidents in traffic,” Jeff Moore, leader of SATX Social Ride said.
San Antonio is the country’s 16th most-deadly U.S. city for bicyclists, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Reporting System data by CarInsurance.org.
It’s why the organization partnered with Hill Country Ghost Bikes, a group that makes bike memorials at the sites of deadly crashes, to make one large altar for the dozens of community members killed while riding for this Día de los Muertos.
“We have one person who is six years old, on up to 70-year-old people,” Moore said.
They hope these altars remember their loved ones, but also remind drivers to be vigilant for cyclists on the roads.
“It’s very important that we put a human face for the community to see who cyclists really are,” Moore said.
Amaya echoes that awareness.
“Look out for the cyclers, look out for the people walking just so that those people don’t have to go through what we’re going through,” Amaya said.
You can see both of these altars at the Día de los Muertos Festival this Saturday and Sunday at Hemisfair.
Fernando’s family and the cycling community will also be part of the procession at the Muertos Fest honoring their loved ones.
KSAT crews will be at Muertos Fest on Saturday, Oct. 28 and then will air a special broadcast of the festivities from 8-10 p.m. on Nov. 1 KSAT12, on KSAT.com’s KSAT+ page and on our free KSAT+ streaming app that works with most Smart TVs.