Businesses fund foundation to improve bike safety

Photograph by Carter Caldwell A painted white bike is propped where Chesterman was struck on the 300 block of Nord Avenue.
Photograph by Carter Caldwell
A painted white bike is propped where Chesterman was struck on the 300 block of Nord Avenue.

Chico State students know pedicab driver Mike Griffith as the fun-loving biker who blasts upbeat music while giving rides. But he also has a giving heart.

Griffith, known as “Mike G,” organized a three-day fundraising event from Thursday to Saturday in memory of Kristina Chesterman, a Chico State nursing student who died after a hit-and-run while riding her bike the night of Sept. 22.

“I gave a ride to Kristina on my pedicab the night before she passed away,” Griffith said. “She was an amazing person and her story really touched me.”

Griffith planned the event for a month and gathered support from 69 downtown businesses.

On Saturday, various organizations set up booths in City Plaza to bring awareness to bike safety and remembering Chesterman. The event also raised money for The Kristina Chesterman Foundation and Doctors Without Borders, an organization Chesterman was passionate about.

Funds from the foundation will also be used for a nursing scholarship which will be awarded  in Chesterman’s name next spring.

“My heart goes out to her whole family,” Griffith said. “I know what happens when someone gets taken away and how heartbreaking it is for everyone who knew them.”

Chesterman’s family was at the event and were grateful for Griffith’s efforts, said Dave Chesterman, Kristina Chesterman’s father.

“It’s really great of Mike G to put this on,” Dave Chesterman said. “It’s making a difference in the community and if this awareness saves one person, it’s worth it.”

Dave Chesterman stressed the importance of bike safety and hopes to start taking action on improving street conditions for bikers.

“We would like to do a number of things, such as fixing dangerous spots with public funding, like the bridge she was killed on and fixing poorly lit areas,” he said. “Students need to be careful on bikes, but drunk driving is really the problem,” he said.

Although the Chesterman family doesn’t yet have the bike Kristina Chesterman was riding the night of the incident, Dave Chesterman said he would like the item to be placed somewhere on campus in Kristina’s honor.

“It would be nice to put it somewhere students can see as a reminder to be safe while remembering Kristina,” he said.

Butte County flight paramedic Kira Simon ran a booth at the event enforcing responsible drinking. The booth had a large sign that said “don’t drink and drive.”

“I want students to be responsible, watch out for their friends and make good decisions,” Simon said. “You could make a bad decision that changes the rest of your life. Don’t do things you will regret.”

Kristina Chesterman’s mother, Sandra Chesterman, said her daughter is still helping others even after her death.

“Kristina just wanted to make a difference in the world, and she is, through the awareness her story is bringing to others,” she said.


Kayla Smith can be reached at [email protected] or @Kayla_Smith1013 on Twitter.