Hundreds Gathered at Memorial for Anastasia, Who Died Biking on Monday

Photo: Liz Farina Markel/Tipping Point Photography
Anastasia Kondrasheva’s family mourns at her ghost bike memorial. Photo: Liz Farina Markel/Tipping Point Photography

Note: Streetsblog Chicago will be on vacation on Monday, October 3, and will resume publication on Tuesday.

Over 300 people came to the intersection of Addison Street and Damen Avenue in Roscoe Village yesterday evening to pay their respects to Anastasia Kondrasheva and her family, friends, and coworkers. There were so many people that a handful of police officers diverted east-west vehicle traffic while letting CTA buses pass the somber scene.

Kondrasheva, 23 years old and a health coach at Harken Center, was killed in a “right hook” crash on Monday morning after being run over by a truck semi-trailer whose driver was turning right from Damen onto Addison.

Anastasia Kondrasheva
Anastasia Kondrasheva

The vigil was co-organized by Rebecca Resman, Elsbeth Cool, and Kristen Green, none of whom knew Kondrasheva. Resman and Cool cycle daily with their children and founded Chicago Family Biking. Green recently founded Ghost Bikes Chicago, and arranged for a ghost bike to be installed at the southeast corner for Kondrasheva.

Kondrasheva’s family declined to speak to the press and to those gathered. Alese Affatato said she was speaking on behalf of the family said that Anastasia babysat her daughter for six years, and remarked that “[Anastasia] felt life on her bike, she loved biking in the city, this is a beautiful way to honor her.”

Resman spoke to rally the crowd saying, “This [fatal crash] is everybody’s problem,” she said, adding, “I want to urge everyone here today to demand better…and in the days and months ahead, we hope that you will all join us to organize and demand safe streets now.” Resman and others are discussing future organizing steps on the Facebook event for last night’s memorial.

Mourners place candles at Anastasia's ghost bike
Mourners place lights at Anastasia’s ghost bike.

Kondrasheva’s death follows a string of fatal crashes this summer with commercial vehicle drivers. Two others happened similarly. The drivers of trailer trucks turning or merging right ran over and killed Virginia Murray and Lisa Kuivenen in separate crashes in August. Two additional bicyclists have died in crashes with commercial vehicles. Blaine Klingenberg was hit by a tour bus driver in June, and Francisco Cruz was hit by a panel van driver in September. The driver who hit Cruz didn’t stay behind, making it a hit-and-run crash.

Active Transportation Alliance is asking people to sign their new letter, a Vision Zero call to action, that asks the “mayor, Chicago City Council and relevant city agencies to immediately put into place proven strategies that can prevent more fatalities due to crashes involving large vehicles.” John Greenfield published a column in the Chicago Reader yesterday advocating for the use of side guards on trucks.

When commenting on articles about traffic fatalities, please be mindful of the fact that family members and friends of the deceased person may be reading the post.