If you’ve ever seen a spray-painted white bicycle, chained to a post for months on end, and asked yourself, “What is that?”, wonder no more.
They’re “Ghost Bikes”, a kind of roadside memorial designed to remind the living that someone on two wheels died at that spot. All too often, the cause of death was a preventable run in with a motorized vehicle, to which a bicyclist is ill-matched.
A story today out by the Associated Press highlights the efforts of ghostbikes.org to document this phenomenon on the World Wide Web. As you might have guessed by now, Sacramento shows up on the site as well.
As of this posting, five Sacramento ghost bikes are featured, along with the tales behind their inceptions.
From the AP Story:
Such memorials are showing up around the world, with one website listing about 600 of them in more than 100 U.S. cities and two-dozen countries.
The bikes are as varied as the people they memorialize. The smallest listed on the website is 2 inches long. Most are a ghostly white, but at least one is bright pink. Some are smashed with sledgehammers to signify wreckage, and in South America they like to hang them off the ground. Those memorialized by the bikes are as young as 6 – a boy killed by a car in Philadelphia.
The ghost bikes are meant to both as remembrances of the dead and reminders of the struggle to share the road. Perhaps nowhere is that struggle more apparent than New York City, where more than 100 have been erected. The city is also home to a group of cyclists that maintains ghostbikes.org, a site dedicated to cataloging the memorials and the closest thing the movement has to a hub.