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Rita Hulsman donates $20,000 from GoFundMe for late husband Steve to benefit safe streets orgs

Screenshot of a news report. A woman faces the camera in an office with bicycles behind her.
Watch the KIRO 7 News report.

In the aftermath of the devastating news that Steve Hulsman was struck and killed while biking in West Seattle, 177 people donated more than $20,000 to help his wife Rita cover costs related to his death. But Rita had a different idea in mind for this money raised with love for her and her late husband: Use it to make streets safer so this doesn’t happen again.

Rita donated $10,000 to both Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to support their work to improve street safety. “I don’t want anyone else to go through what my husband went through and I know the work you do will move that along,” she said to Cascade Executive Director Lee Lambert during a KIRO 7 News report.

The driver who struck and killed Steve, who KIRO 7 News identified as Aaron Ludberg, has not been charged for actions directly related to the collision. He is facing lesser charges for driving with a suspended license and driving without a court-mandated ignition interlock device. We reported previously on the investigation in which SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad did not begin working the case until after the scene had been cleared and streets were reopened.

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Steve sought out difficult rides with lots of climbing, which is why he was riding on Marine View Drive that evening in December. It was a route he had done countless times, and he was scheduled to lead a free group ride along it just days later. After his death, many people posted remembrances of how he had been an encouraging presence to help them complete difficult rides like the annual Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day (RAMROD) event with its 10,000 feet of elevation gain. Rita told KIRO 7 News that Steven didn’t count miles, he counted feet of elevation gain. His goal was to log 1,000,000 feet of climbing to his cycling tracker Strava. When he died, he had climbed 787,641 feet, just 212,359 feet short of his goal.

From Rita:

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your suggestions on which organizations I should consider for distributing the proceeds of the Remembering Steve Hulsman fundraiser I set up on GoFundMe several months ago.  After getting acquainted with each organization, I zeroed in on two that seem centered on the kinds of efforts I want to focus on in the aftermath of my husband’s death.  And since then I have distributed all of the proceeds of the Remembering Steve Hulsman fundraiser to two organizations.  

This evening I posted an update on the Remembering Steve Hulsman GoFundMe page to let the almost 200 donors know how their contributions had been distributed, and I thought you might be interested as well, so I’ve included that update below my signature.  Please feel free to share it with your readers if you wish.

Best regards,

Rita Hulsman

Thank you again for contributing to the Remembering Steve Hulsman GoFundMe. I have been so deeply touched by the generosity of the nearly 200 donors to this fundraiser which I set up initially to help cover medical costs for my late husband’s medical treatment and care in the hours before he passed away. Once I learned that these costs would be almost entirely covered by our medical and uninsured motorist insurance, I decided to pay your contributions forward to organizations that focus on cycling advocacy, education, and safety to decrease the likelihood that what happened to Steve would happen to another cyclist.

I am happy to report that as of Friday, May 10, all of the funds raised through the Remembering Steve Hulsman fundraiser have now been distributed to two very worthwhile organizations: Cascade Bicycling Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. In response, each organization has provided an explanation of how the funds that you contributed will be used. Following is what each organization wrote.

From Cascade Bicycle Club:
Your generous contribution in Steve’s memory will bolster Cascade Bicycle Club’s efforts to make bicycling safer. Specifically, these funds will help cover the staff costs of our policy team’s efforts to make our streets safe for people who walk or bike. Over the next six months, the team will be focused on ensuring bicycle safety is prioritized and funded in the Seattle Transportation Levy. Team members will participate in advisory committees, attend public hearings, and mobilize the Cascade Community to make their voices heard.

From Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:
The purpose of this gift is to advocate for improving safety for people bicycling in Seattle. Since our founding in 2011, we have organized and mobilized people to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike and live. We believe it is possible to transform our city into a place where it is safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities to bicycle, whether they use a bike to get where they need to go or to stay active and recreate.

This gift comes at a transformative moment, as Seattle faces decisions that will determine whether the city will take bold action to prevent what happened to Steve from happening to anyone else. SNG is positioned to mobilize its coalition of 13 volunteer-led local groups, 2,000+ volunteers, partners and allies to push for meaningful progress.

Use of Funds
Specifically, SNG will use this gift in support of its 2024 work on the following priorities:

Seattle Transportation Funding: The 20-year Seattle Transportation Plan was adopted in late April. This June, an 8-year levy to fund it is expected to be placed on the November ballot. We are working to secure at least $200 million for bicycling and Vision Zero projects.

Vision Zero: Seattle is in a traffic safety crisis and we must make sure that everyone can get home safely. This work includes advocating to fix the city’s most dangerous streets – Aurora Ave N, Rainier Ave S, MLK Jr. Way S, 4th Ave S in SODO, and Lake City Way NE. It also includes spot safety improvements throughout the street network.

UnGap the Map: 80% of people biking who are killed on our streets are run over on streets without bike infrastructure. We’ll continue our advocacy to connect every neighborhood with a safe bike route. Key corridors of focus include Beacon Ave S along its southern sections (working with Beacon Hill Safe Streets) and Sylvan Way SW & Fauntleroy Way SW (working with West Seattle Bike Connections). Together with our network of local groups we have produced a map of bike routes that should be prioritized for safety upgrades.

To advance these priorities, SNG will: (1) engage community members in identifying community needs and advocating for solutions and investments that improve access to safe, comfortable and convenient bike routes; (2) make the possible visible by supporting neighborhood volunteer projects and storytelling about bicycling safety; (3) build public support for change through coalition building with groups working for a more bikeable, walkable and liveable city; and (4) work to hold the city accountable for achieving safety goals. This funding will also help leverage other individual contributions, foundation grants and corporate support to provide the collective resources necessary to advance these efforts.

So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution to this effort. I look forward to developing an ongoing relationship with these two organizations and working with them on bicycling and pedestrian safety initiatives throughout our city and region.

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2 responses to “Rita Hulsman donates $20,000 from GoFundMe for late husband Steve to benefit safe streets orgs”

  1. SeaAnita

    This made me cry all over again.

  2. Joseph A. Hulsman

    Thank you all people for your time, attention, care, advocacy, compassion and solution based action regarding matters related to my Brother being negligently struck and killed in the collision that caused my Brother Steven Hulsman’s Death.
    May Steven’s Spirit Ambush us All, often, remembering Steve’s kindness and smile.
    Fondly Recalling Steven’s words…..
    “Bless your Pumpkin Soul”!
    Keep Climbing in Peace Steven!
    With Love and Great Loss,
    One of Your Brothers’ …

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