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Memorial for cyclist killed in Mission Valley destroyed

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jan 09, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A memorial for a cyclist killed in 2021 in Mission Valley was destroyed over the weekend, and now the man's wife is hoping someone has information about what happened.

For over two years, Laura Keenan says she and her son Evan have tried to find comfort in one of the most unlikely places, the site of the crash.

Her husband Matt was killed in September 2021 after a driver hit him head-on as he rode his bicycle on Camino Del Rio South. The couple's son was just a year old.

Just weeks after the crash, a memorial was set up, which included a ghost bike and a banner to honor Matt every time his birthday rolls around.

"It’s become a spot that we go to on our hard days, and every time we drive by the freeway or the surface streets, we wave and say hi to Matt," says Keenan.

Over the weekend, the memorial site was destroyed; the ghost bike and birthday banner were charred. Keenan says someone passing by noticed the damage and notified Keenan about what happened.

"Somebody had set his ghost bike on fire and burned it to the ground; it’s completely destroyed," says Keenan.

Keenan thinks the incident happened Friday. She filed a police report and hopes someone knows who’s responsible or caught the incident on surveillance cameras.

"I would like them to know that this has caused so much more pain, so much more unnecessary pain; we have gone through so much," says Keenan.

She also wants this to be a reminder of how preventable Matt’s death was. She hopes the city continues making progress on its Vision Zero initiative to reach a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2025.

Keenan is raising money through a GoFundMe page to replace the ghost bike and work on a more permanent memorial for her husband.

ABC 10News reached out to the city for comment about the Vision Zero initiative, and a spokesperson sent us the following statement:

"The City of San Diego remains committed to the Vision Zero effort to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries in San Diego. Since 2015, more than $250 million for systemic and specific safety improvements has been allocated. In Fiscal Year 2024 alone, The City allocated more than $51 million under the Vision Zero initiative for new and improved bicycle facilities, traffic calming measures, guard rails, sidewalks, streetlights, medians and road modifications.

The City has taken significant steps toward creating new policies to prioritize projects and investments aimed at making our sidewalks and roadways better for persons of all ages and abilities.

The City recently adopted a Complete Streets Council Policy, and has also released a draft Mobility Master Plan that includes a list of projects and programs that prioritize safe transportation options for all users. This plan is available for public review and comment on our website [sandiego.gov].

There will be several informational public meetings taking place in February and March for those who are interested in learning more about the Mobility Master Plan and our commitment to improving safety and circulation."