‘Ride In Paradise’

A ghost bike rack is installed at City Market to honor the life of Anthony Saluto

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

A crowd of friends, family, and fellow bicyclists gathered at the City Market Park Sunday, April 14 to commemorate the life of Anthony Saluto as a ghost bike rack was installed in his memory.

A smiling photo of Anthony, wearing a suit and a purple flower pinned to his lapel, was placed in front of the bike rack during the ceremony.

Anthony’s family said the park is a great spot for the bike rack because of his love for the City Market. Anthony also used to work as a barista at Opera House Coffee, just around the corner.

Anthony was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on Independence Avenue Sunday, April 3, 2016. His mother, Lorrie Lomas, said Anthony was riding to the City Market to meet up with friends and watch a Royals game.

As he rode westbound on the northern-most lane of Independence Avenue, near Tracy Avenue in front of Chouteau Courts, a driver of an eastbound vehicle crossed the centerline and struck Anthony head-on.

After an investigation, the driver of the vehicle, who was driving between 47 and 57 miles per hour, was found to have benzodiazepine, cannabinoids, cocaine, and opiates in his system at the time of the crash.

The driver delivered various versions of the incident to officers at the time of the crash, but ultimately pleaded guilty to the crime. Surveillance footage showed Anthony riding on the correct side of the road, not veering into traffic, with no other vehicles involved in the crash except for the driver at fault.

To honor Anthony’s memory, his family originally installed a ghost bike on Independence Avenue at the crash site. This all-white painted bike had a sign with black letters that said “Anthony Saluto Ride in Paradise.”

These same words have been etched into the ghost bike rack that has been installed at City Market.

Lomas, however, said she has never been able to bring herself to visit that bike on Independence Avenue—it’s just too painful for her.

She wanted a memorial to honor Anthony that she would be able to visit.

The family worked in collaboration with BikeWalkKC to get the ghost bike rack installed in City Market Park.

Karen Campbell, with BikeWalkKC, said the family reached out to the organization to discuss the possibility of creating a permanent memorial.

“We talked with them about what they envisioned and his mother had the idea of recreating that bike and making it something permanent that cyclists would use, and we thought that was really beautiful,” said Campbell, “so they helped us identify that design based on a family member’s tattoo. We did a fundraiser in the community. Dozens of people came out and donated $1,200 in three days. Anthony used to work for the Opera House in City Market so we thought it would be an appropriate spot for where he spent so much time.”

To Campbell’s knowledge, she said this is the only ghost bike rack in the Kansas City area.

“Having something permanent that would benefit other cyclists would, I hope, make Anthony happy,” she said.

Michael Kelley, with BikeWalkKC, said he hopes this brings change and that the city would not need to erect another ghost bike rack memorial.

“If we truly want to honor his memory,” he said, “we all have an obligation to speak up for policies, plans, and projects that will ensure that regardless of how you move through Kansas City, you are able to do so safely.”

During the ceremony, Lomas told the crowd that Anthony was the kindest person anyone would ever meet.

She recalled a memory of a stranger mentioning to Anthony that he was going to his first Royals game and didn’t have a jersey to wear. Lomas said Anthony immediately gave his new friend the Royals jersey off his back.

“That’s just the kind of person he was,” she said.

His family wore blue shirts with the words “Anthony Saluto: ride in paradise” printed on the front, a red Superman symbol on the sleeve, and the word “SinisterKid,” Anthony’s Facebook name, on the back.

A prayer was said, a moment of silence held, and then the first bike was placed on the bike rack by Anthony’s family.

To hear more, Anthony’s family was kind enough to do an exclusive interview with the Northeast News, which can be found below.

 

 

 

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