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26/12/2010 // INFO 2 Comments

Ghost Bikes – In Memoriam

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As the New Year approaches, it feels appropriate to spare a thought for people who have lost their lives this year to accidents while cycling, not only here in the UK but across the world.

As a community of people who are advocates and love cycling, we remember these cyclists in the form of the Ghost Bike. The Ghost Bike is a stripped down white painted bicycle that is locked to an immovable object on or near the spot of a cycle fatality. It is often the only memorial that friends of the cyclist have.

There is a Ghost Bike very close to where I live in Hackney, East London. I touch it always when I walk past it for some reason. As a person I’ll never know the individual who died but I still have a distinct feeling of grief from the death of this fellow cyclist. It is probably because I feel that the Ghost Bike could just as easily have been for me.

The bikes also serve as a quiet statement in support of a cyclists’ right to safe travel on our roads. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks of bad drivers and poor traffic conditions.

The first Ghost Bike appeared in the US in St Louis, Missouri, in 2003, and has since grown to many other countries around the world. A global campaign website – GhostBikes.org – now exists which tries to collate information of these deaths and pictures of the memorials, with short tributes to the dead cyclists.

A documentary film project, under the working title of The Ghost Bike Film Project,  is also now in post production. Funded by donations, the project has been collecting footage and interviews for a feature length documentary about Ghost Bikes since January 2009. Beginning in New York City, filming has moved to places diverse as Vancouver, London and Sao Paulo. A DVD of the documentary will be out in the New Year.

I was alerted to the documentary project by ByeKick, a blogger and friend of Going Going Bike. I will leave the last words about Ghost Bikes to him, which is on his own site.

“Ghost Bikes should serve as every day reminder to us of our own luck, our part in the cycling community, our responsibility to each other, and most of all, to the memory of the individuals who lost their lives.”

2 comments [leave one]
Cycling chat December 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I actually think it’s a good idea as a constant reminder to ALL road users of those killed on a bike, who were just trying to get from A to B, may they all rest in Peace.

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James - Going Going Bike December 29, 2010 at 11:08 am

Indeed.

I think it would be a heartless person (cyclist, pedestrian, driver or otherwise) who would not be moved by the sight of a ghost bike.

I saw another one, close to where I used to live yesterday, and they really are a powerful memorial as well, as you say, as a reminder to all road users of the dangers of the road.

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