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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Ghost Bike

I don't know if everyone is as interested in them as I am, maybe I'm a bit morbid, or I really like to remember those who led the way... Anyhow I've always been interested in ghost bikes. When I was living in San Diego last year, we got our first one for a guy named Atip, I never knew him, but I remember how the bike community came together to construct his ghost bike after he was killed by a truck on University Ave.

This is Atip's ghost bike.
I thought I would do a little research on the ghost bike from Wikipedia... and here is what I have found:

What is a Ghost Bike?
"A ghost bike or ghostcycle is a bicycle set up in a place where a cyclist has been hurt or killed by a motor vehicle, as a memorial and as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. A junk bicycle is painted white, with a placard attached, and locked to a suitable object close to the scene of the accident. These memorials are mainly a political statement – aiming to make a wider point beyond personal loss – erected by pro-cycling organizations, unlike a typical roadside memorial, which is usually purely personal. Not all ghost bikes commemorate real casualties: some merely reflect indignation at near-misses by careless drivers, or even protest against a poor road surface."

History Behind the Ghost Bike:
"The ghost bike idea seems to have originated with a project by San Francisco artist Jo Sota. Slota began the original ghost bike project in April 2002. This was a distinct, purely artistic endeavor.[2] Slota was intrigued by the abandoned bicycles that he found around the city, locked up but stripped of useful parts. He began painting them white, and posted photographs on his website, As the idea was taken up for different purposes, Slota faced a dilemma. San Francisco is one of the safer U.S. cities for bicyclists, but memorial ghost bikes sprang up there as elsewhere, changing perceptions of his project.

One of Jo Sota's ghost bike.

The first ghost bike memorial project was in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in October 2003. After observing a motorist strike a bicyclist in a bike lane on Holly Hills Boulevard, Patrick Van Der Tuin placed a white-painted bicycle on the spot with a hand-painted sign reading "Cyclist Struck Here". Noticing the effect that this had on motorists in the area, Van Der Tuin then enlisted the help of friends to place 15 more "ghost bikes" in prominent spots in the St. Louis area where cyclists had recently been hit by automobiles. They used damaged bikes, in some cases deliberately damaged to create the desired mangled effect."

Here is the original ghost bike.

This site is dedicated to ghost bikes and has some interesting information on it.

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