Three weeks after cycling community leader Tito Bradshaw was struck and killed by a motorist, the San Antonio Area Foundation is partnering with the City of San Antonio, the 80/20 Foundation, and two cycling groups to create a fund to back community efforts that raise awareness of bike safety.
“Meaningful community change is often spurred by the sheer will of the people in that community, who create the synergy to affect policy, allocate public funding, align philanthropy and inspire a movement,” said San Antonio Area Foundation CEO Marjie French of the the new Live to Ride fund. “Live to Ride is that movement and we are honored to be part of it.”
There have already been several community-driven projects to highlight cyclist safety, such as a memorial mural of Bradshaw and a petition to install a bike lane on East Houston Street, the street Bradshaw was riding on when he was killed. Lorenzo Gomez, chairman of the 80/20 Foundation and of Geekdom, said the new Live to Ride fund would look at similar projects and decide which ones to support financially.
“We haven’t decided to fund any of these things [yet], but when the community speaks on its own, it’s easy for you to respond and help bring to life things that are already going on,” he said Tuesday.
Live to Ride also aims to help the City create more bike-friendly infrastructure. Once the City updates its Bicycle Master Plan, the fund committee will look at which parts it can help pay for, said 80/20 Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Frey.
“I am very focused on attracting and retaining talent,” she said. “We need to move San Antonio to a more cycle-centric community to make sure the people moving in here find it attractive. So many people want to make sure they can commute via bike, and right now it’s not the safest option.”
The fund created by the San Antonio Area Foundation, the City of San Antonio, the 80/20 Foundation, SATX Social Ride, and the San Antonio Cycling Alliance.
The 80/20 Foundation gives grants to local nonprofits that work to help make San Antonio attractive to entrepreneurs. SATX Social Ride promotes safe biking and hosts community bike rides, while the San Antonio Cycling Alliance trains cyclists for charity purposes.
The 80/20 Foundation has pledged to match up to $200,000 in the Live to Ride fund. The fund was established in response to the recent deaths of Bradshaw and another cyclist struck and killed by a motorist, Dr. Naji Tanios Kayruz. The 80/20 Foundation is challenging the public to donate to help fund street safety awareness initiatives. The challenge coincides with National Bike Month in May, Frey said, but there is no deadline to donate to the fund.
“We want to encourage the community to donate whenever they are able to,” she said. “We thought about just doing the month of May, but we don’t want this to lose steam after May – we want it to keep going.”
City Manager Erik Walsh said Live to Ride will work to make the community more aware of sharing the road as more transportation options enter the market.
“Traditional bikes, electric bikes, and scooters are everywhere across San Antonio and the options are only going to increase,” Walsh said in a statement. “We need to continue to effectively educate the public to make our streets safer as we work to ensure a mobility-friendly city.”
Live to Ride also will consult with the Vision Zero initiative that the City joined in 2015. City staff suffered a loss close to home recently when Omega McKinnon, an accountant for the City, was struck and killed by a charter bus while crossing the street downtown in March.
“This effort will honor these lives and their memories by pushing the change we seek in making San Antonio a safer city for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a news release Tuesday.
Frey said she hopes that more companies will donate to Live to Ride after seeing the community support for supporting bicycle safety and infrastructure.
“This fund wasn’t created just because of the tragedy that happened,” she said. “We’re here to stay, we’re here to have an impact.”
The Live to Ride committee will give oversight and administer grants from the fund. The committee includes Frey, Walsh, Gomez, San Antonio Area Foundation CEO Marjie French, Alexis G. Velasquez of the H-E-B Cycling Team and the San Antonio Cycling Alliance, and Jeff Moore of SATX Social Ride.
Donate online toward the Live to Ride fund here. A minimum of $10 is required and donors will receive a tax receipt.