When Anthony Saluto’s family approached us to ask for help in bringing attention to the sentencing of the man who killed him, we worked to spread the word among the metro’s cycling community and spoke out at the hearing alongside his family. We understood, much as they did, that Anthony’s life had meaning and that to hand down the sentence that was initially proposed would be an injustice to him, his loved ones, and the thousands of cyclists who ride in KCMO.
While the sentence handed down was not what we hoped for, we all recognized that there was an opportunity to do more and ensure that Anthony’s death would not be in vain. Looking at the policy landscape, as well as the built environment itself, BikeWalkKC set out to determine what changes needed to be made, and how to start that process.
We’re writing today with an update on the first of the steps we outlined, which was to install a permanent memorial in Anthony’s memory.
The family has requested, and the owners have agreed, that the memorial be installed at Anthony’s former place of work, the Opera House Coffee and Food Emporium, which is located in the River Market.
Rather than a ghost bike, which is a bike painted in all white to honor the memory of a deceased cyclist, we decided to opt for a ghost bike rack instead. The reason for this was two-fold: 1) going through the process of installing a bike rack would help to ensure the memorial’s permanence; and 2) a bike rack allows for greater customization which can help to show the public what a unique and loved individual Anthony was.
A draft of the image can be seen below:
The text reads “Anthony Saluto: Ride in Paradise”.
Once we have ordered the rack and completed the permitting process with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, we will organize a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the installation of the memorial. Keep an eye out for that information when it becomes available.
When BikeWalkKC set out to make changes to the built environment, to ensure that Anthony’s death would mean more than a slap on the wrist for the man who killed him, we were determined to strive for something meaningful. The installation of the bike rack is an important first step, but it will certainly not be the last. We owe it to our cyclists and pedestrians, living and those who have lost their lives, to continue our efforts to make the metro a safer, better place to walk and ride a bike.
** UPDATE: thanks to an outpouring of generosity by Anthony’s family, friends, the cycling community, and the media, we have raised the funds needed to procure and install the bike rack. Thank you, Kansas City!**