AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Wednesday, more than 50 cyclists peddled through downtown Austin to remember Tony Diaz. “That could've happened to any of us,” said Ricardo A. Trevino, a volunteer with Social Cycling Austin who organized the ride.
January 28 it happened to Diaz. The Navy veteran and FOX 7 Austin employee hopped on his bicycle after work and headed home, but, only two miles later, his life was cut short when he was hit by a Capital Metro bus on the UT campus.
“This kind of tragedy is far too common,” said Michael Bluejay a local bicyclist.
Members of Social Cycling Austin know their lives are on the line every time they start pedaling. “Ultimately, the reason roads are unsafe is that drivers don't care whether they hit us and, until we change driver's hearts and minds, the roads will never be safe,” Bluejay said.
Tony's story is one they don't want to forget.
“This is going to be a silent ride. There'll be no music and no talking,” said Trevino.
“I'm kind of numb because I can't count how many of these rides I've been on for this kind of situation,” Bluejay said. The crash scene was on a stretch of San Jacinto Boulevard without a separate bike lane. White paint and an occasional street sign are the only reminders cyclists could be on the road.
“I think the combining of bus lanes and bike lanes in itself is not a good idea,” said Trevino.
Now there is another reminder for those passing by, a ghost bike in memory of Diaz. “It's just a remembrance, almost like a tombstone, just to remind everybody that we're fragile, we don't have a shell around us,” Trevino said.
During Wednesday’s silent ride, cyclists stopped at the memorial and let the reality of life's uncertainty sink in. “He's an everyday guy, just like me. He's commuting back and forth to work and that's what I do,” said Trevino.
The group also took their message to Capital Metro's front door.
“This isn't a protest. We're just here to inform Capital Metro that we're not happy with what happened and that we want stuff to change,” Trevino said.
Cyclists hope those changes come before anyone else gets hurt or killed. UT police said the investigation is still ongoing and so far no charges have been filed against the bus driver.
Detectives are searching for a man they said witnessed the crash and called police and EMS for help. They’re asking him to call UTPD at 512-232-3573.