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Memorial For Fallen Cyclist Lisa Kuivinen To Be Held Next Saturday

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 25, 2016 4:53PM

Lisa Kuivinen / Facebook

A ghost-bike memorial dedication will take place next Saturday for Lisa Kuivinen, the 20-year-old art student who was fatally struck while riding their bike last Tuesday morning in West Town. (Lisa used the pronouns they and them.)

Kuivinen was riding in the bike lane along a busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue when a driver operating an 18-wheel flatbed truck crashed into Lisa. Friends and family remembered Lisa as “sweet, kind and considerate” and “everyone’s dream daughter,” the Tribune reported.

The dedication is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3, at 4 p.m., near the intersection of Milwaukee and Racine avenues. The Facebook event page asks attendees to bring “candles, flowers, balloons and good vibes.”

Kristen Green, who helped organize the dedication and paint the memorial bike, said the event offers "a chance to give back." "Instead of being angry and resentful, I will concentrate on the good instead," Green told Chicagoist. "This provides an opportunity to mourn and celebrate life. The only motivation is good faith and love."

Although details have not yet been finalized, Green also said that a memorial ride may be incorporated, possibly in conjunction with the annual messenger ride Cuttin Crew Classic..

Kuivinen was the third of four bicycling fatalities in Chicago this summer. Blaine Klingenberg, 29, was hit and pinned underneath a tour bus, near Oak Street and Michigan Ave., north the Magnificent Mile, in June. Virginia Murray, 25, was fatally struck in a right-turn collision in July while riding a Divvy in Avondale. Francisco Cruz, 58, was killed last week in a hit-and-run crash while biking south on Pulaski Avenue in the 4000 block of West Maypole Avenue, in West Garfield Park. Cruz’s death came the very next day after Kuivinen was killed.

Green said she personally knew Klingenberg, Murray and Kuivinen. "As the years have progressed, biking has become safer," she told Chicagoist. "At same time, some drivers have become more violent than ever."

Kuivinen’s death has also increased awareness of the hazards of obstructed bike lanes. Although the crash looks to have occurred before Lisa reached the construction site, they were soon approaching a blockage in the lane caused by construction of a transit-oriented development, at 830 N. Milwaukee Ave.

A new state law was recently passed clarifying that cyclists have the same rights as vehicles under the Illinois Vehicle Code.

[H/T Streetsblog]